Discussion paper

Planning for successful cities: a discussion document on a proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development

Urban planning Cities and towns Liveability Affordable housing New Zealand

The success of our cities affects New Zealand’s overall economic, social, cultural and environmental performance. As New Zealand moves to a more sustainable, productive and inclusive economy, cities will play an increasingly important role by hosting a large share of the nation’s labour market activity, business growth and connections with other countries.

Our cities need to offer affordability, access and quality, while functioning within environmental limits. To do so, they need to be able to adapt and respond to the diverse and changing needs of all people, whānau, communities and future generations.

Our cities are under pressure and are not offering the benefits we want, because:

  • urban land markets do not enable housing development to keep up with growth and ensure land is affordable
  • transport systems are poorly integrated with land use, and lack high-quality options to improve access to jobs, and reduce car dependency.

The Government is looking at ways to make our urban markets perform better by making room for growth, making sure growth pays for itself, investing in transport to drive more efficient and liveable urban forms, and ensuring healthy and active travel is more attractive.

The proposed NPS-UD will help achieve the sustainable management purpose of the Resource Management Act (RMA 1991) by ensuring that urban planning enables people and communities to provide for their social, economic, and cultural well-being through development that supports quality urban environments.

The NPS-UD contains objectives and policies in four key areas:

  1. Future Development Strategy – requires councils to carry out long-term planning to accommodate growth and ensure well-functioning cities.
  2. Making room for growth in RMA plans – requires councils to allow for growth ‘up’ and ‘out’ in a way that contributes to a quality urban environment, and to ensure their rules do not unnecessarily constrain growth.
  3. Evidence for good decision-making – requires councils to develop, monitor and maintain an evidence base about demand, supply and prices for housing and land, to inform their planning decisions.
  4. Processes for engaging on planning – ensures council planning is aligned and coordinated across urban areas, and issues of concern to iwi and hapū are taken into account.
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