Geok Ling Phang Memorial Award Winner

13 November 2015

On 5 November, during World Town Planning Day celebrations, the NZPI Wellington Branch announced the Wellington Urban Growth Plan as the winner of the Geok Ling Phang Memorial Award for 2015.

David Mitchell & Lucie Desrosiers accepted the Award on behalf of Wellington City Council.

The Plan integrates the land use, transport, natural environment, and resilience aspects of urban growth. It is supported by a detailed implementation strategy which identifies priority projects for the next 10 years and underpins the 2015-25 Long-term Plan. In the Long Term Plan, over $210 million in capital expenditure is assigned to urban development projects and $480 million to transport improvements - all identified through the Urban Growth Plan.

The Plan's formal adoption in June 2015 followed two years of extensive analytical, visioning and engagement work. This included two rounds of community consultation, and specific integration with the LTP so that links between the two were obvious to the public. The Plan and the process was widely promoted through traditional forums, but also through an interactive website, and a social media campaign.

The Plan seeks a balance between intensification in existing urban areas and urban expansion on greenfield land. Good quality and affordable housing is a key component. It seeks to maximise the benefits of existing infrastructure and planned transport investments by directing growth to areas best able to cater for additional residents. It includes the introduction of medium density zones around key town centres - some of which are provoking controversial reactions.

The Judges particularly noted that the Urban Growth Plan draws attention to the planning process. It has done so in a way that enables a wide cross section of the public to better understand where the city is heading, and why. Its approach to the management of growth reflects the planning ideals of integration and being proactive. It has also been an integral part of collective decision making for the city's future.