Urban is the answer: The life’s work of Jonathan F. P. Rose

The world of knowledge about cities that Jonathan F. P. Rose will bring to the outcome-Jon Rose linked in imagedriven Urbanism New Zealand conference next week – when he speaks about developing communities of opportunity by video-link on Tuesday morning – has been deeply explored and distilled in his 2016 book The Well-Tempered City.

Ahead of Urbanism New Zealand 14-15 May in Wellington, Urban Design Forum member Stephen Olsen spoke recently with Rose and in this article presents an extended précis of highlights from his book.


When New York apartment-house builder Frederick P. Rose took his son, Jonathan F. P. Rose, aged 16, to a trash-filled site festooned with abandoned buildings in 1968 he asked him a question: “What would you do with this”?

Fifty years later that enduring question has lived on into Jonathan F.P. Rose’s book The Well-Tempered City, encapsulating an encyclopedic potpourri of theories about ancient civilisations, science and human nature.

In conversation Rose, an award-winning leader in the field of acquiring and developing sustainable affordable housing in the United States through Jonathan Rose Companies, acknowledges the book represents a “life’s work”.

Given the emphasis that the book places on how cities have survived and moved on from the repeated decline and fall of successive centuries it’s not surprising that Rose singles out author Lewis Mumford (1895-1990) as one of his points of inspiration.

It’s also a testament to its breadth and depth of content that reviewers have been aligning it with names like Mumford and Jane Jacobs.

A driving force for The Well-Tempered City is seeking to answer what a “common operating language” for cities might consist of as the world runs up against times that the US military denote as VUCA – vulnerability, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.

For Rose the rejoinder to VUCA was to structure his book around five points of a city-sustaining compass: coherence (almost half of the book), circularity, resilience, community and compassion.

Rose strongly holds to the view that he best lessons can be drawn from “the DNA of the past” and this is reflected in the way he unbundles another shorthand list of nine C’s for tracking the evolutionary path of cities: cognition, cooperation, culture, calories, connectivity, commerce, complexity, concentration, control.

In his book’s section on coherence Rose journeys back in time to revisit the social intelligence and skills that were critical to the emergence of cities, observing that every aspect of city-making is dependent on our cognition and that we need all of the pure intelligence and “large working memory” we can muster.

He gives a timely reminder that the cycles of collapse across empires and cities were often tied to a combination of climate change, income inequality and selfish governance – a combination that is “toxic to the health of cities”.

Piece by piece Rose traces the building blocks of the successive movements of sanitary reform, urban parks, garden cities, housing reform in New York and the City Beautiful movement as progressive steps for city building.

Twentieth century problems need 22nd century solutions

While recounting an inheritance from the twentieth century that has included problems of suburban sprawl, traffic jams, few live-work-play communities, inefficient land use and extraordinary environmental degradation – patterns of destruction and dysfunction – Rose also sees hopeful signs in the resurgence of mass transit initiatives and transit-oriented development and the “moral authority” gained by steps to embody better, evidence-based city thinking seen in examples such as Envision Utah, PlaNYC and Rebuild By Design.

His definition of a smart city is one that “uses digital technologies or information and communication technologies to enhance the quality and performance of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens”.

“Cities must encourage a wider range of innovation – the richer the gene pool of solutions, the greater the adaptive capacity of the city”.

Rose is an advocate for a wide array of interlinking solutions – from weaving gardens throughout urban landscapes through to better education through to more residential mixed-income integration.

A major takeaway from The Well-Tempered City is to understand cities for the complex systems that they are, and to understand that they will only thrive when they are optimised.

Rose: “A city is optimised when all of its components are thriving – the ecology in which it is nested, the metabolism that sustains it, the region that contains it, and its people and businesses. To achieve this, city leaders need to focus on optimising the whole, not the parts. Seeking wholeness, the city begins to become more naturally adaptive to the VUCA world”.

To further make the point he befittingly calls on this quote from jazz musician Wynton Marsalis: “The reason things fall apart is that people create things to celebrate themselves rather than embrace the whole”.

An underpinning altruism

Underpinning The Well-Tempered City is a reinforcing confidence that most people are at minimum “conditional altruists” who are open to cooperation and will support a higher common good if they believe that others will reciprocate.

Although it’s not readily apparent a large part of this comes back to aspects of Rose’s life journey that gain only a few passing mentions in the book – particularly the early influences in his life such as travelling to the Himalayas, studying under Ian McHarge (author of the seminal 1969 book Design with Nature), his spiritual and Buddhist bases, his musical interests (search ‘Jog Blues’) and the notable philanthropic pursuits of his wider family through enterprises such as the Garrison Institute.

It’s easy to get a sense of the material there would be for another book by Rose that would reflect on those influences and also document more of the achievements across the sweet spot for his business life in such fundamentally important areas as the greening of affordable housing, as well as vexed areas such as public policy.

For now The Well-Tempered City serves a great Noah-like purpose in helping to inform debates about how best to bend the arc of development needed for cities to be refuges from volatility.

Selected highlights from The Well-Tempered City

Lessons from history

  • The golden age of Islamic cities were a harbinger of the key qualities of thriving cities today, by applying a flexible planning structure that balanced opportunity and pleasure with modesty, spirituality and altruism.
  • In contrast by creating easily sellable lots, Western cities became profitable real estate ventures. America’s public realm in most cases became what was left over after private development.

Things to avoid

  • Schemes that concentrate poverty, isolate residents from services and limit opportunities for small businesses.
  • Building millions of suburban homes for a false market.
  • Lack of diversity of adequate transportation options.
  • Leaving city planning to a few loud voices, NIMBY neighbours, and ceding the most influence to those who stand to gain financially.
  • Creating urban parks that lack biodiversity.

On resilience and infrastructure

  • People, buildings, communities and cities need to be designed to function when they’re disconnected. They need to be able to survive when urban systems go down.
  • Spare infrastructure capacity is essential for urban resilience.
  • As climate change progresses, every city is facing metabolic challenges. And to resolve them, cities are going to have to think, plan, build and operate their infrastructure differently.
  • If properly designed infrastructure can begin to restore the natural systems that cities so often degrade. Infrastructure systems are time shifters, providing benefits not just for the present, but for the future, too.
  • A response to globalisation is not isolation, it is infrastructure.

On housing, buildings and neighbourhoods

  • The settings have been consistently skewed to single-family home owners and away from low to moderate income rental housing.
  • It’s just no possible to build a well-tempered society on an unstable base. Safe, affordable, toxin-free housing is an essential precondition.
  • If a nation wants to become more resilient in the face of climate change, economic volatility, or potential energy shortages, the easiest place to begin is with energy-efficiency retrofits of its existing buildings.
  • The good news is that when a city focuses on improving the health, safety and well-being of a given neighbourhood, the effect of that improvement will spread by three degrees.

Applying a different lens to cities

  • Understanding the power of social networks has enormous implications for generating positive health outcomes in cities.
  • Most cities lack and integrated platform to support the growth of every child. What if a city were to follow through on the idea of being designed to work, first and foremost, for children through every project, department and plan?
  • The most vital cities have a culture of coopetition, weaving competition into a strong fabric of cooperation. As Darwin observed, groups that are internally altruistic will always outcompete non-altruistic groups.

In a nutshell

  • The current state of many of our cities is an unfit fitness. They may be sufficiently adapted for short-term growth, but they lack the adaptive capacity to thrive in the high stress environment of the future.
  • The city-planning tools of the twentieth century were not designed to deal with climate change, population growth, resource depletion and other megatrends.
  • At the physical level, the well-tempered city increases its resilience by integrating urban technology and nature. At the operational level it increases its resilience by developing rapidly adapting systems that co-evolve in dynamic balance with megatrends, preserving the well-being of both the human and natural systems. And at the spiritual level, temperament integrates our quest for a purpose with the aspiration for wholeness.
  • The best cities of the future will incorporate nature’s regenerative qualities.
  • When a city makes its environmental goals explicit and thinks through how to encourage behaviour shifts, it gets the best results.
  • We are not working at a scale that is meeting the challenges of our times. Great city-making requires leadership but also, today, much broader participation.

You can’t beat Wellington on a rainy day

Keen urbanistas arriving into Wellington early for the Urbanism New Zealand conference yesterday could partake of two special guided tours: either an e-bike foray with Boffa Miskell or a flaneur’s walk with Gerald Blunt.


Blunt, who is on the conference Advisory Committee and who works as a city shaper at Wellington City Council, began his walking tour at the bottom at the Pukehau National Warm Memorial Park. Commenting on Pukeahu’s relatively remote location from the CBD, Blunt said it had been interesting to see how it had become an asset for the city.


Walk19No street corner was left unobserved on the way from Pukeahu to the waterfront down Tory Street, with a walking commentary all the way about the granular details and latent lanes, as observed here by Andy Brangwin of Jasmax.


Towards the northern or lower end of Tory Street a highlight was the tactical urbanism project undertaken in partnership with Victoria University’s School of Landscape Architecture to create a temporary installation.


Stops along the way included an opportunity to learn more about Wellington’s Waitangi Park, and particularly its urban wetland.


Another established feature along the waterfront is the Wellington Writers Walk sculpture placements with examples below excerpting some great lines from Maurice Gee and James K. Baxter. Walk9


A good amount of time was made available to soak in the newly minted north kumutoto project by Isthmus with its distinctive sculptural pavilion shelter made up of a matrix of solidly attached timber cedar battens – apparently almost 18km worth.




Blunt deserves a big thank you for sharing the back story behind these and other developments (“the long story short”), and for his pointers of things to come. And he did so with only one noticeable attack of urban-speak with a comment at one site that “it’s a hard edge to activate”.

For the Jasmax contingent from Auckland a standout part of the tour was the obvious “informality” in play between people and the harbour edge. “It’s as if in Auckland people are afraid to go down to the sea, whereas here there are so few barriers, even if you want to dive off the wharf. It’s like the rules haven’t had to be broken, they just aren’t there”.

As another, local tour participant said, “I’ve lived here for most of my life but you forget just what it’s taken to piece together parts of the city, and really, when you stand back, how it’s beginning to be the sum of those parts, accidents and all. It takes a rainy day to notice that sometimes”.

Change Management is Critical

Barnaby Bennett, co-founder of Freerange Press speaks with Duncan Ecob, Director, Isthmus Group. Both Barnaby and Duncan are presenting at the 2018 Urbanism New Zealand Conference 14-15 May in Wellington. To register www.urbanismnz.co.nz

Suburban Regeneration Opportunities

The problem of how to increase the density of existing suburbs is not new, but it is increasingly important issue for cities such as Auckland as they undertake major urban renovations. Duncan Ecob, a director of Isthmus, has been working on urban regeneration projects in the UK and NZ since the mid-80s and bring this depth of experience to the challenges facing Auckland.

Ecob’s original foray into suburban regeneration was the consequence of Thatcher era cuts to social housing. These cuts, inadvertently, shifted responsibility from the housing authorities to landscape and urban planners through local councils. It’s notable that almost thirty years later we are witnessing somewhat similar shifts in responsibility but from an almost opposite political ideology.

One example is on the North Shore of Auckland the suburb of Northcote which is undergoing significant planning and regeneration. This project is being led as a partnership between Auckland Council and Housing New Zealand. One of the core projects is the replacement of 360 odd HNZ houses with 1200 modern homes, including around 400 new statehouses.

The opportunity created by this intensification is, in many ways, is simply being able to implement age old good quality urban design principles: better access to public transport, encouraging of healthy movements through cycling and walking, increasing access to public amenities such as parks and school, providing new age care facilities, and the crucial goal of improving density and thus improving housing affordability. Ecob argues that while these principles are old, each projects has its own geographical, cultural and political variations that demand careful attention. He argues that similar regeneration projects in Mt Roskill and Mangere are very different and require different spatial and organisational responses. Context rules.

One of the main differences Ecob sees between NZ and UK is that the NZ doesn’t have strong traditions of dense housing with good urban design and so, unlike people in Europe, we New Zealanders tend to inherently fear this change. So presumably it’ll get easier the more we do.

Is this too good to be true, where’s the tension or problems with this approach? Ecob identifies two major areas of danger. Firstly, he argues that working with existing communities and change management is critical. Local residents and communities need to be informed, and they also need to understand the benefits and opportunities for their communities and families. HNZ has been working closely with the families in existing housing in Northcote and provide options to stay in new housing or move to other locations. Secondly, Ecob suggests that all the political goodwill in the world can be undone by reluctant or disinterested bureaucracies.

Perhaps the main threat for the different city-making professions and the new government in taking the opportunities generated by suburban regeneration projects is the powerful force of the status-quo.

Both are presenting on Tuesday 15 May – Duncan is speaking in the Case Studies Session and is chairing a panel; Barnaby is speaking in the LIVE Session.


Duncan Ecob and Barnaby Bennett



Ending Our Car Centric Culture

Barnaby Bennett, Director, UTS Sydney speaks with Chris Isles, Director of Planning, Place Design Group. Both Barnaby and Chris are presenting at the 2018 Urbanism New Zealand Conference 14-15 May in Wellington. To register www.urbanismnz.co.nz

Chris is presenting ‘Building the Street of the Future’ in our Case Studies Session Tuesday 15 May at 4.00pm. Barnaby is presenting in the LIVE Session Tuesday 15 May at 3.00pm.

Future Street

What are streets going to look like in the future? What happens when we reintroduce complex ecologies, deprioritise cars, and integrate more intelligent technologies? Over the past few years Chris Isles, from Place Design Group, has been asking these kinds of questions. Chris is talking about smart streets on Tuesday afternoon at the Urbanism New Zealand Conference and I had a chat with him recently about things urban and smart.

Chris is executive director of Place Design Group, an urban design and planning company with offices in various cities around Australia and China. He opened our conversation by making the sharp point that change is coming to our cities and in this change there is a real danger that the role of urbanists, planners and designers will become overwhelmed by the purveyors of tech that lead conversations around these issues: the promoters of smart products, the companies supporting driverless cars, and their enthusiastic lobbyists. Chris sees this as a risk for two reasons. Firstly, as students of the city planners, designers and urban designers have a sense of the public and civic importance of these places as being central to the very existence of cities, this isn’t necessarily a view shared by inventors and promoters of technology. Secondly, and perhaps more sharply, city-making professionals are the ones that integrate new technologies and ecologies together, both spatially and organisationally, and a focus on products alone risks overlooking the skill it takes to do this.

In response to these concerns Chris collaborated with a range of NGOs (Smart Cities Council), Australia Institute of Landscape Architects, and corporate partners (Telstra, GoGet) to produce a significant prototyping and demonstration project called The Future Street, in downtown Sydney. This project involved the temporary construction of a 100m long section that demonstrated ‘greener’, ‘smarter’ and ‘more complete’ streets which integrated public transport, smart furniture systems, data collections tools, and autonomous vehicles. The project was a demonstration in that it showed the 100,000 visitors a vision of what the streets might start to look like in the future, and it was a prototype in which data was collected and observations made about how people used this new space.

A central argument of the Future Streets project is based on ending, or at least diminishing, the car centric culture that dominates most cities today. Around 30% of central cities are currently taken up by the movement or storage of cars and that removal of even some of this space presents enormous opportunities for cities and public spaces. When this is combined with a desire for greener and more ecological cities and smart digital materials a new vision of an old idea emerges.

At the conference Chris will discuss the issues involved with the next generation of smart streets, the role of the designer and city-maker in conversations around smart objects and digital safety, opportunities for revenue generation for councils, and the significance of doing a 100m demonstration project.


Barnaby Bennett and Chris Isles


Move in Motorbikes, Bicycles and Walk

Moving in our urban environment is the topic of discussion in the MOVE Session at the 2018 Urbanism New Zealand Conference 14 to 15 May in Wellington. This is an outcome driven conference providing the opportunity for a diversity of conversations from all areas of the sector. REGISTER TODAY to join the conversation.

Mass Rapid Transit Opportunities in a 2-wheeled Society

Vietnam is in the midst of rapid urbanisation with the population increasing from 24 million to 33 million in the last decade. The issue of urban development and transport presents the major economic challenge for the country. In 2017 there were approximately 3 million cars and 45 million motorcycles. James Tinnion-Morgan, Principal Transport Planner and Public Transport Specialist, Tonkin and Taylor has over 27 years’ experience in a wide variety of transport planning projects, both in Asia Pacific and Europe and has delivered large scale integrated transport solutions.

Business Case for Walking

Auckland, like many western cities, went down the path of auto-dependency, systematically measuring and providing for motorised vehicles while ‘accommodating’ people on foot and bike if any space was left over. To challenge this auto-orientated paradigm, Auckland Council developed the Business Case for Walking to understand the quantum and value of walking in the Auckland City Centre. George Weeks is a chartered planner and an urban designer in the City Centre Unit at the Auckland Design Office, Auckland Council. Prior to this he was based in Transport for London’s urban design team where he developed the team’s expertise in monetising the economic benefits of high-quality public space.

The Bicycle Landscape

Over the last five years New Zealand has started to build a new network of infrastructure for cycling. At both the local and national government level, significant investment has been predicated upon proven returns that cycling improves health, environment and economy. Playing a giant game of join-the-dots, Ralph Johns, CEO Isthmus will connect urban cycle projects in Auckland, Napier and Wellington with national cycleway trails through the Hauraki, Napier and the Wairarapa. Raised in Wales, Ralph Johns studied and practiced as a landscape architect in the UK prior to moving to New Zealand in 2001 to establish the landscape architecture degree program at Victoria University. For the past decade he has been a senior member of the design practice Isthmus Group and has won a number of awards for his work in addition to contributing articles to local and international design publications.


George Weeks, Ralph Johns and James Tinnion-Morgan


Guidelines, Principles and Plans

Dr Lee Beattie, Professor Errol Haarhoff, Stephanie Gard’ner, Tui Arona, Jeanette Ward and Gabi Wolfer are speaking in our DESIGN Session presentation Monday 14 May. To join this collective discussion developing a ‘Statement on Urbanism’ for New Zealand REGISTER TODAY at www.urbanismnz.co.nz

Urban Design Guidelines

The use of urban design guidance and independent expert review panels through the statutory urban planning process is a tool commonly used by cities worldwide to enhance the quality of their built environment. Dr Lee Beattie and Professor Errol Haarhoff examine the urban design outcomes achieved in New Zealand’s largest brownfields regeneration project on a disused military base. Lee is an urban designer and urban planner with 24 years’ professional experience. Dr Beattie is Deputy Head of School of Architecture and Planning and the Director of the School’s Master of Urban Design Programme at the University of Auckland. Errol Haarhoff is Professor of Architecture and Co-Director of the Urban Research Network also at the University of Auckland.  He is currently leading a $2.5million National Science Challenge research project: Shaping Places – Future Neighbourhoods involving 25 researchers at five universities.

Built Environment Principles

The New Zealand government has an ambitious and wide ranging housing and urban development work programme sitting across multiple ministerial portfolios and agencies. This programme seeks to end homelessness, improve housing affordability, make room for growth in urban centres and to help create thriving communities. Part of this work is a project to develop a set of Quality Built Environment Principles. The Ministry for the Environment’s purpose is to make New Zealand the most liveable place in the world for our children, their children and their mokopuna. Stephanie Gard’ner is a senior policy analyst at the Ministry for the Environment in the Auckland- based urban and infrastructure team. Tui Arona is a policy analyst at the ministry with a background in research and works on a variety of urban projects.

District Plans

Streets are an important part of our urban fabric, not just for movement but as public spaces. How effective are District Plans at achieving best practice street designs in new developments? A project team of transport engineers, urban designers and planners recently looked into this question as part of a district plan review. Jeanette Ward, Associate, Abley Transportation Consultants is a transportation engineer with 20 years experience in local government and consultancy within New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Gabi Wolfer, Senior Urban Designer / Town Planner, Selwyn District Council trained in Germany with an engineering degree in urban and spatial planning, moving to Canterbury in 2003.


Dr Lee Beattie, Stephanie Gard’ner, Tui Arona, Jeanette Ward and Gabi Wolfer


To review the complete conference programme www.urbanismnz.co.nz

2018 Urbanism New Zealand Conference 14-15 May in Wellington, New Zealand.

Conference sponsors: Wellington City Council, Urban Design Forum, Jasmax, Isthmus, Boffa Miskell and the NZ Transport Agency.


Urban Case Studies

We have two CASE STUDIES Sessions at the 2018 Urbanism New Conference. The first will include the following:

  • Vinegar Lane – a NZ urban intensification case study
  • The South Frame – an urban designer’s regeneration dream, but everyone else’s nightmare
  • Designing Public Space for Active Aging – a case study from China

Urbanism New Zealand is being held in Wellington from 14 to 15 May 2018. To register www.urbanismnz.co.nz

Vinegar Lane

In this presentation Duncan Ecob, Principal, Isthmus Group and Gavin Lister, Founding Director, Isthmus Group will demonstrate an alternative ‘home-grown’ form of urban development that draws on New Zealand’s older mixed-use inner suburbs. Vinegar Lane is an experiment of low-rise intensification that sets out to reinterpret the scale, character and spirit of inner city suburbs. Duncan is an Urban Designer with over twenty eight years experience in designing and delivering regeneration in the built environment. He leads the Place service, with a focus on Urban Design and Masterplans. Gavin is qualified in both urban design and landscape architecture. He has 28 years’ experience throughout New Zealand on a range of project types including housing, land and commercial development, public spaces and streets, urban master planning, parks and landscape design and large-scale infrastructure.

The South Frame

One of the most comprehensive, yet often misunderstood, urban regeneration projects undertaken in Christchurch presents a valuable, multi-layered case study on urbanism. The complexity lies in the ambitious, yet fundamental, revitalisation of a large central city area when there was little understanding or appetite for change. Sophie Connell, Urban Designer, Connell & Associates return to Christchurch to work on the rebuild was off the back of over a decade working in urban design, regeneration, development, masterplanning and placemaking in New Zealand and abroad. When The South Frame landed with her, the ‘underdog’ of the Anchor Projects, it presented the ultimate challenge. Cameron McLean, Project Manager, Otakaro Limited is currently responsible for the design and delivery of a number of the largest urban regeneration projects ever undertaken in Christchurch.

Active Ageing in China

With ageing populations, many developed countries including New Zealand have introduced policy to support the concept of active ageing. However, a lack of resources has presented significant implementation challenges for policy makers. This case study examines a low-cost solution using spatial design to improve the health of the elderly in a low income urban village in China. Dr Minh Nguyen is a lecturer at Wellington Institute of Technology, teaching architecture technology. Minh trained as an architect in Germany and received a PhD in architecture from the Victoria University of Wellington.


Dr Minh Nguyen, Cameron McLean, Duncan Ecob and Sophie Connell



Matters of the Heart

The 2018 Urbanism New Zealand Conference 14-15 May in Wellington will discuss matters of the heart – the city heart and its centre. Speakers Dave Charnley, Benjamine Smith, Peter Hansby, Henry Crothers and Mike Frew will present in the HEART CENTRE SESSION on Palmerston North, Queenstown and saving our regional towns.

To register for the conference www.urbanismnz.co.nz

Re-Start the Heart

Dave Charnley, Urban Designer, Palmerston North City Council will demonstrate how a range of capital investment projects, strategic planning direction and a bottom up approach has been successful in reinvigorating the city life of central Palmerston North. As an award winning landscape architect with a passion for realising shared cultural landscape and reconciliation with nature, Dave Charnley has extensive experience across a range of urban projects.

Building a Better Experience

With a targeted vision of ‘Supporting a thriving heart to Queenstown’ the recently endorsed Queenstown Town Centre Masterplan draws together a suite of major transformational infrastructure and placemaking projects. Benjamine Smith, Senior Advisor, Rationale; Peter Hensby, GM Property and Infrastructure, Queenstown Lakes District Council; and Henry Crothers, Director, LandLAB will focus on how the town centre was defined as a ‘place’ to support a robust local economy and improved experiences.

Getting Out of a Hole

Mike Frew, Fund Manager, Heritage EQUIP, Ministry for Culture and Heritage will present on how earthquake prone heritage buildings can save our regional towns. For many communities the dominance of heritage buildings in their town centres make the government’s Earthquake Prone Buildings Regime particularly challenging – but with this comes opportunity. Mike Frew’s professional background spans commercial property, sustainable business and community development. Over the past four years he has been implementing government programmes in the commercial property sector and currently manages the government’s Heritage EQUIP fund.


Benjamine Smith, Henry Crothers, Mike Frew, Peter Hansby and Dave Charnley


For the full conference programme www.urbanismnz.co.nz #urbanismnz2018

Conference Sponsors: Wellington City Council, Urban Design Forum, Jasmax, Isthmus, Boffa Miskell and NZ Transport Agency.

Councils and Our Urban Environment

Justin Lester, Mayor, Wellington City Council joins Ben van Bruggen, Manager Urban Design, Auckland Council and our other POP Panel members as they identify the key issue areas the sector needs to address to bring about change. The 2018 Urbanism New Zealand Conference provides the opportunity for the sector to better connect our thinking for the planning, design and delivery of our urban environments.

Being held in Wellington from 14 to 15 May, the conference program includes feature speakers, session presentations, multiple panels, poster presentations, networking events and study tours in Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington. To register www.urbanismnz.co.nz

Design Review Panels: PANEL Session

Lisa Dunshea, Manager Design Review Auckland Design Office, Auckland Council chairs a panel of representatives from Auckland Council and Wellington and Christchurch City Councils as they discuss the effectiveness and relevance of design review panels as a tool to improve urban design outcomes. Panel members include Melanie McKelvie, Auckland Council; Gerald Blunt, Design Manager, Wellington City Council; Josie Schroder, Principal Advisor Urban Design, Christchurch City Council; Dr Lee Beattie, Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland; and Graeme Scott, Director, ASC Architects.

Re-start the Heart: HEART CENTRE Session

Dave Charnley, Urban Designer, Palmerston North City Council discusses ‘urban surgery to save city life’ as he demonstrates how a range of capital investment projects, strategic planning direction and a bottom up approach has been successful in reinvigorating the city life of central Palmerston North. Dave Charnley  is an award winning landscape architect with a passion for realising shared cultural landscape and reconciliation with nature.

Business Case for Walking: MOVE Session

George Weeks, Specialist Urban Designer Auckland Council Design Office, City Centre Unit Auckland Council presents ‘counting walking to make walking count’. Auckland like many western cities, went down the path of auto-dependency, systematically measuring and providing for motorised vehicles while ‘accommodating’ people on foot and bike if any space were left over. To challenge this auto-orientated paradigm, Auckland Council developed the Business Case for Walking. George Weeks is a chartered planner and an urban designer. From 2011 to 2016 he was based in Transport for London’s urban design team where he developed the team’s expertise in monetising the economic benefits of high-quality public space.


Ben van Bruggen, Mayor Justin Lester, Dave Charnley, George Weeks and Lisa Dunshea

For full programme information www.urbanismnz.co.nz


Conference Sponsors: Wellington City Council, Urban Design Forum, Jasmax, Isthmus, Boffa Miskell and NZ Transport Agency.


How the Dots Join

Connal Towsend, Chief Executive, NZ Property Council is a member of our POP Panel in the opening Plenary at the 2018 Urbanism New Zealand Conference. Moderated by Rod Oram, panel members will aim to seek consensus on the KEY ISSUES AREAS that need to be addressed by the sector as a whole to bring about change.

This conference provides the opportunity to connect our thinking for the planning, design and delivery of our urban environments. To register www.urbanismnz.co.nz

Nigel McKenna, Development Director, Development Advisory Services Limited will speak in the plenary session on ‘How the Dots Join’. In this session Nigel will present on the practicalities from his successes and lessons learnt as a developer. Nigel’s session will focus on what the opportunities are, what tomorrow looks like and importantly what people are looking for in their new urbanism. With a 25 year career in property, Nigel is one of the most experienced development managers in New Zealand. He has extensive understanding with leading large diverse teams and has undertaken a wide variety of highly specialized projects.

Lauren Semple, Partner, Greenwood Roche presentation is ‘Keep Calm and Build Better Cities – joining the dots with the Urban Development Authorities Proposal’. Speaking in the Develop & Delivery Session, Lauren will discuss legislation with the objective to streamline and speed up important large scale projects identified by government. Lauren has worked in resource management for more than 20 years. Passionate about urban planning and development, she has consented some of the largest new developments and subdivisions in the South Island.

Paula Schultz is the Managing Director of Canopius Developments and in her presentation ‘Urbanism Papakura’ she will take a developers perspective on involvement in the urban design of a community. Paula proposes that you can have great urban planners, architects and both local and central government officials working towards an ideal of properly designed urban-renewal, but unless the disconnect with the developers is remedied and controlled the plan becomes an obfuscation. Paula grew her development company by taking lessons from the project, task and risk management elements of her previous experience in airline operations and utilising relevant aspects in both property development and urban design spectrums.


Connal Townsend, Paula Schultz, Lauren Semple and Nigel McKenna


The 2018 Urbanism New Zealand Conference is focused on collective discussion with designers, architects, developers, planners, delivery, academics, community, policy and decision makers. Being held in Wellington 14-15 May for more info www.urbanismnz.co.nz

Conference Sponsors: Wellington City Council, Urban Design Forum, Jasmax, Isthmus, Boffa Miskell and the NZ Transport Agency.