Challenges for central government urban design policy initiatives (1999-2006) : a Christchurch case study
For a decade prior to the election of the Labour government in 1999, New Zealand public policy had largely neglected the significance of urban centres. This was despite the fact that over 85% of our population resides in cities or towns. Rising development pressure in peri-urban areas resulting in strain on public services and infrastructure, in addition to international moves to legislate for better urban environments have now prompted central government to acknowledge the importance of 'good' urban design in resolving these issues. It has launched a series of 'work programmes', including the Urban Design Protocol aimed at promoting the values and principles associated with 'good' urban design. However, there is much debate about the effectiveness of these initiatives, and so far no systematic attempts to evaluate their success. The purpose of this research is to develop an understanding of the major challenges for urban design policy development by identifying key factors influencing the effectiveness of the central government urban design initiatives. Also provided are some recommendations regarding how these challenges might be addressed. The research objectives of this study are therefore: 1. To enhance understanding of the major factors influencing the effectiveness of central government urban design policy, as identified by professionals involved or affected by the initiatives. 2. To use the literature review to explore the contextual factors influencing urban design policy development (i.e. explore the concept of urban design and to appreciate the factors which influenced its development in the urban & political context.) 3. To make recommendations on how to alleviate any negative impacts of the factors influencing the effectiveness of central government urban design policy. 4. To explore the significance of research findings for the landscape architecture profession. The research is essentially qualitative in nature, and utilises Christchurch City as a case study to explore the effectiveness of central government initiatives at a district planning level. With urban design initiatives still in the very early stages of implementation, the analysis is based upon the feedback received from a selection of Christchurch participants representing a range of professions either directly involved with, or affected by central government urban design initiatives. Drawing upon the literature and building on previous research findings, the key factors influencing the effectiveness of urban design policies are identified and explored. Organisational/political, legislative, technical/resource and psychological/sociological factors, in addition to global and biophysical/geographical (local) factors, were all found to play a significant role in the success of the initiatives. Recommendations for addressing these factors are given, as are directions for future research. The research suggests the need for repetition of this study in other districts and highlights the implications for the landscape architecture profession.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsurban design; policy evaluation; landscape planning; urban design initiatives; Urban Design Protocol; landscape architecture; Resource Management Act 1991; Ministry for the Environment; Urban Affairs Portfolio; Christchurch City Plan
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