Examines the challenge of managing amenity values in New Zealand cities where population and housing densities are increasing. Looks at impacts on a range of values including streetscapes, natural and open spaces, city heritage, and traffic, and provides suggestions for improved management.
It's worth reflecting that the walking cities of last century had a much more compact form, with section sizes of less than 200 square metres in some of our older centres. These early, densely settled areas are in some cases now considered to have high amenity value and to be very desirable places to live - a strong signal that New Zealanders can live at higher densities than has been traditionally accepted.
Suburban intensification (increasing housing densities and population densities) can affect a city's infrastructure, transportation network, the natural environment, heritage places and areas, and amenity values.
The term 'amenity values' is defined in the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) as 'those natural or physical qualities and characteristics of an area that contribute to people's appreciation of its pleasantness, aesthetic coherence, and cultural and recreational attributes' (s 2 RMA). Contributing factors to suburban amenity values include public and private open space, historic and cultural heritage, neighbourhood character, vegetation, safety, views, and noise levels.
Significant effects of intensification on suburban amenity values include:
Auckland, Christchurch and Waitakere City Councils were chosen as case study councils for the investigation and separate background reports were prepared on how each council is managing suburban amenity values in its city.
Urban form and intensification
Intensification and effects on amenity values
The identification of amenity values
The management of amenity values
Resource consents and the assessment of environmental effects
To the Minister for the Environment
To the Minister of Housing
To Housing New Zealand
To the Minister of Science, Research and Technology
To all Territorial Authorities