The Christchurch Urban Design Panel: Its role and influence on residential development within central city Christchurch post-earthquake : A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Planning at Lincoln University
During the 21st century, New Zealand has experienced increasing public concern over the quality of the design and appearance of new developments, and their effects on the urban environment. In response to this, a number of local authorities developed a range of tools to address this issue, including urban design panels to review proposals and provide independent advice. Following the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquake sequence, the commitment to achieve high quality urban design within Christchurch was given further importance, with the city facing the unprecedented challenge of rebuilding a ‘vibrant and successful city’. The rebuild and regeneration reinforced the need for independent design review, putting more focus and emphasis on the role and use of the urban design panel; first through collaboratively assisting applicants in achieving a better design outcome for their development by providing an independent set of eyes on their design; and secondly in assisting Council officers in forming their recommendations on resource consent decisions. However, there is a perception that urban design and the role of the urban design panel is not fully understood, with some stakeholders arguing that Council’s urban design requirements are adding cost and complexity to their developments. The purpose of this research was to develop a better understanding on the role of the Christchurch urban design panel post-earthquake in the central city; its direct and indirect influence on the built environment; and the deficiencies in the broader planning framework and institutional settings that it might be addressing. Ultimately, the perceived role of the Panel is understood, and there is agreement that urban design is having a positive influence on the built environment, albeit viewed differently amongst the varying groups involved. What has become clear throughout this research is that the perceived tension between the development community and urban design well and truly exists, with the urban design panel contributing towards this. This tension is exacerbated further through the cost of urban design to developers, and the drive for financial return from their investments. The panel, albeit promoting a positive experience, is simply a ‘tick box’ exercise for some, and as the research suggests, groups or professional are determining themselves what constitutes good urban design, based on their attitude, the context in which they sit and the financial constraints to incorporate good design elements. It is perhaps a bleak time for urban design, and more about building homes.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsurban design; residential development; urban planning; Christchurch City Council; Christchurch City; regulation; urban environment; post earthquake; post-disaster; urban design panel
Fields of Research12 Built Environment and Design; 1203 Design Practice and Management; 120508 Urban Design
- Dissertations 
Attribution 4.0 International
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