New Zealand Urban Design Protocol

In February of 2005 the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (RASNZ) became a Sector Organisation Signatory to the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment's Urban Design Protocol.

The Urban Design Protocol has the following vision and Mission Statements:

  • Vision
    Making New Zealand towns and cities more successful through quality urban design.
  • Mission statement
    The New Zealand Urban Design Protocol calls for a significant step-up in the quality of urban design in New Zealand and a change in the way we think about our towns and cities. As part of a co-ordinated programme of sustainable development, it aims to ensure New Zealand's towns and cities are successful places for people.

It will achieve this by:

    • creating a national cross-sector commitment to quality urban design
    • providing a national resource of tools, actions and experiences
    • setting up partnerships between government, the private sector and professionals
    • increasing the awareness of quality urban design and demonstrating its value.

The Urban Design Protocol recognises that:

  • towns and cities are complex systems that require integrated management
  • quality urban design is an essential component of successful towns and cities
  • urban design needs to be an integral part of all urban decision-making
  • urban design requires alliances across sectors and professionals
  • urban design applies at all scales, from small towns to large cities
  • urban design has a significant influence on people and how they live their lives
  • our towns and cities are important expressions of New Zealand's cultural identity including our unique Maori heritage.

The Protocol identifies seven essential design qualities: (7 C's)

  1. Context: Seeing that buildings, places and spaces are part of the whole town or city
  2. Character: Reflecting and enhancing the distinctive character, heritage and identity of our urban environment
  3. Choice: Ensuring diversity and choice for people
  4. Connections: Enhancing how different networks link together for people
  5. Creativity: Encouraging innovative and imaginative solutions
  6. Custodianship: Ensuring design is environmentally sustainable, safe and healthy
  7. Collaboration: Communicating and sharing knowledge across sectors, professions and with communities.

The New Zealand Urban Design Protocol is part of the Government's Sustainable Development Programme of Action and the Urban Affairs Portfolio. One of the main aims of the government under this Programme of Action is decoupling economic growth from pressures on the environment. The supply and use of energy has always had environmental consequences.

Improving Energy Efficiency And Conservation

More recently, the threat of climate change has pushed energy to a central position in international debate. The questions are now about:

  • the energy we need
  • the long-term effects of how we now use energy
  • how we will change to more sustainable energy use.

Using energy more efficiently, that is, using less energy for the same amount of production, heating, light and transport, is a cost-effective way of achieving sustainable development.

At present the overall technical efficiency of energy use averages 25 per cent. There is scope for ongoing, costeffective improvements in efficiency across all sectors. These improvements should deliver immediate and realisable gains for the environment, the economy and people's welfare.

After detailed consideration within the framework of the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy, the government has adopted a target of at least a 20 per cent improvement in economy-wide energy efficiency by 2012.Sustainable Development For New Zealand Programme Of Action - (PDF Brochure)

The RASNZ has signed the NZ Urban Design Protocol as a Sector Organisation, and have made the commitment to:

  • Demand quality urban design
  • Develop community action projects
  • Participate in community engagement forums
  • Lead proactive neighbourhood projects

The main aim for the RASNZ, within the protocol, is to encourage energy saving through efficient and effective outdoor lighting.