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Planning tools used to help ensure quality-built form

About the planning tools used to help ensure quality built form 

The Auckland Unitary Plan, the urban design review panel, alongside the five ‘good design attributes’ set out in the Auckland Plan 2050 and the Auckland Design Manual will guide development in the city centre.

Auckland Unitary Plan 

The Auckland Unitary Plan is the guidebook and toolbox for what can be built in the city centre and where this development can occur. It manages the built form and its interface with public open spaces and streets.

The Auckland Unitary Plan envisages the highest building density clustered around the Waihorotiu / Queen Street Valley, stepping down toward the edges of the city centre and waterfront.

A combination of site size, height limits, environmental controls (view and sunlight protection), maximum tower dimensions, set-backs and floor area ratios generally determine building height and scale.

The rules provide for flexibility in development and built form. All new developments in the city centre are reviewed by Auckland Council to ensure high quality outcomes.

Unitary Plan Regional Policy Statement B2.3 Quality Built Environment influences development quality, form and design.

Public amenity, protected by the Unitary Plan 

Sunlight protection areas over our parks and squares prevent over-shadowing by tall buildings, particularly at those times of the day and seasons when they are most enjoyed. Keeping building heights low on the northern aspect of our parks and squares guarantees this.

Another method is the requirement for canopies over footpaths to deflect wind from tall buildings and provide shelter from rain and sun.

Buildings in some parts of the city centre are kept low to protect views across the city to the Auckland War Memorial Museum and Maungawhau / Mt Eden. There are also protected sightlines along streets to the harbour or to landmark buildings such as the Art Gallery.

It is essential that new development in the city centre continues to provide a high quality of amenity for pedestrians on streets and in public open spaces.

The Auckland Climate Action Plan will also need to be reflected in city centre transport and street design.

Auckland Urban Design Panel (AUDP) 

Most new development in the city centre are also reviewed by the Auckland Urban Design Panel.

The panel provides independent design advice.

Auckland Plan 

The Auckland Plan states that good design includes the attributes of:

  • functionality
  • attractiveness
  • longevity
  • innovation
  • legibility.

Good design needs to be integrated at all scales of development. It includes the quality of the city structure, the design of public places and spaces as well as building and house design.

The quality of city design is integral to how it functions, which affects our overall wellbeing. Good design can contribute to making Auckland a sustainable, attractive, equitable and desirable place.

The quality and characteristics of successful places make them memorable. They result in people going there more often, staying longer, or choosing to live and work there.

Auckland Design Manual 

The Auckland Design Manual is an online guide to achieving great design. While the Auckland Plan sets the vision for a quality, compact city, the Auckland Design Manual provides the practical design advice needed to achieve this vision.

Created for designers, developers and planners, it demonstrates how to achieve quality neighbourhoods, streets, parks and buildings.

Resources on the manual include design guides, worked examples and case studies of outstanding developments.

More information about quality built form