Economics of Urban Development


To assist planners to implement the Urban Development Capacity NPS, NZPI is pleased to announce a new course intended for experienced planners. This has been developed with Peter Nunns who will present the course. (Queenstown feedback: “I enjoyed Peter's approach to the session. Very approachable and helpful”; “Responsive to the mixed background of the group”; “I was slightly worried that the economics of the course were going to be foccused on numbers and formulas and happily surprised that this was interesting and of relevance in low growth scenarios”). Peter worked closely with MfE and MBIE to design and implement the NPS-UDC. His aim on the course is to provide practical insights into the workings of the NPS-UDC and assist course attendees to understand how they can incorporate elements of this analysis into their work.

He will be assisted on the course - which is being delivered at seven locations throughout NZ in 2018 - by either Joel Cayford (NZPI’s CPD Manager), or by a Senior Planner from the branch area. Course attendees are encouraged to bring relevant case studies to the course, share experiences with others, and provide Peter with locally relevant examples he can examine as part of the course. The assistant will facilitate discussion and report-backs from group activities initiated by Peter.

The National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity sets new evidence and monitoring requirements for high and medium growth councils which are now required to assess future demand and development capacity for housing and business uses and monitor prices and development trends to understand how their local markets are tracking.

The government's expectation is that this evidence will help inform planning practices on the ground. But does this imply an upheaval to traditional planning practices? And how do new requirements sit alongside existing evidence and analytical frameworks?

The course demystifies NPS-UDC requirements and will give planning practitioners a chance to 'kick the tyres' on new tools and concepts. In doing so, it will review the economics of development and the economics of urban planning, highlighting key aspects of housing and business markets that are relevant for planners to take into account in their work.

Peter is Principal Economist at MRCagney, a transport and urban planning consultancy with offices in Auckland, Brisbane, and Melbourne.

The course will include the following

  • Briefly introduce key principles of economic analysis. This will include:

    • Wider macro-economic factors that affect supply and demand for urban land uses;

    • The importance of public goods and environmental, social, and economic spillovers in establishing the rationale for planning;

    • How households and businesses may respond to regulations; and

    • The role of economic theory versus empirical evidence.

  • Step through key NPS requirements, with a focus on evidence and monitoring requirements. This will include:

    • Understanding future demand for housing and business land – what are the key drivers and how can they be assessed?

    • Understanding the supply side – what determines whether it is commercially feasible to build new homes or business space?

    • Investigating the NPS monitoring framework – what can (and can’t) we learn from prices?

  • Discuss how economic analysis can be used to inform planning decisions, how it can be critically assessed, and how it relates to more holistic assessments of effects on the ‘fourwellbeings’.

By the end of the course attendees will
  • Have an increased awareness of development economics and economic analysis as it relates to planning decisions

  • Better understand NPS evidence and monitoring requirements and the knowledge and capabilities that are required to implement them

  • Be able to critically examine economic analysis and identify implications for planning practices

Who should attend
While the course is targeted at intermediate through to senior planners, it is framed to accommodate planners at all levels wanting to get a better understanding of how development economics and planning align. The course will also benefit planners working in plan development, area based planning and those project managing large development resource consent proposals both on the side of the applicant and acting for Council as a reporting planner. The course will also be of benefit to other professionals involved in the development process e.g. surveyors, engineers, developers, consultants, local body politicians and executive staff.


Peter Nunns was the Principal Economist at MRCagney, a transport and urban planning consultancy. His work spans land use planning, housing policy, and transport policy. Since 2016 he has advised the Ministry for the Environment and Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment on the development and implementation of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity. As part of this, he has assisted in the development of guidance to assist councils to implement the evidence, monitoring, and planning responses requirements. Peter’s recent work also includes the development of business cases for a number of major transport projects, including the Auckland Cycling Programme and Auckland’s Northwest Rapid Transit Corridor, giving him an in-depth knowledge of the related challenges that councils face in planning and funding infrastructure to support growth.

NOTE - If you are interested in attending a workshop please register early to ensure it goes ahead. Minimum numbers are required for a workshop to run. This generally ensures there is sufficient people to allow different experience and views to be part of the discussion within the course setting. Registration deadline is normally 2 - 3 weeks prior to the event (depending on the venue). Thank you.
Click here to see NZPI's Cancellation Terms and Conditions

Event Registration

09:30:00 - 17:30:00
Hotel Armitage, 9 Willow St, Tauranga, Bay of Plenty
All Planners
Peter Nunns
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