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key learnings from UDF's Urban Design: The Panacea we had hoped for?

how design interventions have impacted our public realm

  • 29 March 2019
  • Author: Lisa Mein
  • Number of views: 375
key learnings from UDF's Urban Design: The Panacea we had hoped for?

It is fair to say that the Urban Design Forum’s first event for 2019 was an overwhelming success. With a huge waiting list, the North Studio at Boffa Miskell’s Auckland office was jam packed and there were live streams played in Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown. 

A comment from one attendee was: “very successful event, great venue, debaters and moderator, right length of time, and good discussion afterwards... I think collectively the chemistry across the participants was the entertainment”. 

The debate pitted some of the built environment industry’s best and brightest against one another in a public-private contest on the effectiveness of Urban Design in the past 15 years to create better environments in New Zealand with the proposition being: Urban Design: The Panacea we had hoped for? 

The idea of the event was to deliberate what has happened in the field of Urban Design since the Urban Design Protocol was released in 2005 and how these design interventions have impacted our public realm. Despite the heckling all debaters (John Duguid, Katja Lietz, Ben van Bruggen (who stepped in 5 hours before the event), Rachel de Lambert, Leonie Freeman and Julie Stout with Nick Williamson as moderator) were still smiling at the end of the night. Great points were made by both teams but the negating team (representing the Private sector) were the clear favourites. 


Some key learnings from the event are:

  1. There is a keen interest around the country in urban issues as evidenced by the numbers attending in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown, so we will aim for simulcast for more of our future events where possible
  2. Debate or Panel format works well and should be considered for future events but would be strengthened by some pre-prepared questions to allow panelists the opportunity to tease out the issues in advance
  3. Thought provoking points on the value and effectiveness of urban design were made by both teams in an entertaining way, however there is a more serious discussion that still needs to be expressed on the effectiveness of urban design and urban designers to influence the shape of our built environment in the New Zealand context so the UDF will continue to challenge and champion quality urban design
  4. The success of the event has led to the Urban Design Forum together with the Auckland Design Office discussing a future event on “who are the ADO, what do they do and what are the challenges they face”? Watch this space.  


If you missed the Urban Design Forum debate last month make sure to check out the youtube link:

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