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About Urban Design Forum

VISION

Promoting urban design excellence across New Zealand.

 

PURPOSE

The purpose of the UDF is to:

• Promote cross-disciplinary understanding of urban design and collaboration amongst built environment professionals;

• Raise awareness and appreciation of the benefits of urban design at both national and local levels;  

• Advocate for and influence good quality urban design outcomes and best practice in urban design;

• Provide a forum for discussion of design-based approaches that are relevant to the development and management of New Zealand towns and cities.

 

 VALUES

Urban Design is the process of arranging and influencing the design of the components that make up our urban environment, with the objective of creating quality urban places. This applies in 3-dimensions and across a range of scales from the city / region down to small individual development sites.

By quality urban places, this means making places that:

• Feel safer
• Encourage healthier lifestyles
• Are more culturally relevant, promote social and community interaction and are more equitable
• Are more sustainable and enduring
• Are more economically prosperous
• Are easier to move around by a range of forms of transport including walking
• Are more enjoyable to spend time in, and are more attractive to live in, to work in, to visit and to invest in.

The UDF recognises that creating great quality urban places also depends on a range of other aspects including politics and law-making including financial policies; development economics; social, community and cultural issues; policing; and traffic management to name but a few. The field of urban design can’t attempt to resolve all these issues. But where it can help is in the physical arrangement of the components that make up our built environments.

The UDF therefore believe that urban design is the skilled process of influencing and arranging these urban components. It is recognised that the primary design responsibility for these components lies with design specialists including architects, landscape architects, engineers etc. In this regard, good urban design is achieved by all built environment professionals working together to achieve common urban design goals and the skill of the urban designer in many cases is to help other specialist designers to work together and see the wider urban design outcomes.

The UDF believes that there are professional urban designers – specialists practising urban design who have been trained to fully understand the art of arranging the elements of the built environment to get the best possible urban design outcomes.

There are also related design specialists whose primary role is to design the individual urban components (such as buildings, spaces and streets) but in doing so are trying to achieve wider urban design outcomes.

The UDF aims to promote cross disciplinary understanding of urban design and represent both specialist urban designers as well as those with other primary specialisms who are determined to achieve good urban design outcomes. 







STRATEGY
Over the next three years, the UDF aims to achieve its purpose through a series of actions around the following:

Education
Purpose: to support the community in their understanding of urban design and urban issues
Actions:

Continue to update the UDF website and other media platforms with articles, information and other relevant links
Identify and share scholarship and intern opportunities
Sharing of the good news stories

Branding and marketing
Purpose: to raise the profile of and mandate for the UDF and its members
Actions:

Raise social media profile and develop a media plan for engagement
Establish media contacts, provide regular updates on urban issues and media releases
Identify high profile conduits for messaging with identified spokespeople

Events and partnering
Purpose: To build collaborative and influential relationships and share knowledge and increase membership base
Actions:

To continue supporting a national urban design conference (on a biennial basis)
To host branch events including both members only and open entry on a quarterly basis
Identify key alliances and collaboration opportunities at national and local level including NZPI, NZILA, NZIA, Property Council, Women in Urbanism, NZIS and Nga Aho. 
Investigate the idea of re-introducing a national Urban Design Award programme to recognise and reward outstanding urban design practice around the country.

Recognised practitioner
Purpose: To recognise and support those people who are trained and are practicing experts in the field of urban design
Actions:

Develop a process for achieving “recognised practitioner” status
Develop an agreed approach to urban design assessment 

Advocacy
Purpose: Proactively raising urban design issues of national or local significance
Actions:
Advocacy focus areas:

Pro-active lobbying, particularly to central government on key UD issues of national significance including the provision of national urban design advice and the creation of urban development authorities
Responding formally on behalf of the urban design community to key topics, issues, policies and other major proposals 


Background and Membership

The New Zealand Urban Design Forum was first created in 2005 as a collaboration between the planning, landscape, architecture, engineering and surveying Institutes. 

The UDF became independent and an incorporated society on 17th September 2014 but still has strong associations and partnerships with those institutes.

The UDF is modelled on similar groups in Australia and England.

Membership is open to anyone who is interested in urban design and cares about the quality of the built environment and life in our towns and cities and wants to help raise the standards of urban design across the country. The UDF encourages membership from anyone interested in urban design and including planners, architects, landscape architects, engineers, surveyors, politicians, academics, developers and other individuals.

Join UDF

National Committee Members

The organisation is overseen by an elected National Committee who provide their service on a voluntary basis.


  • Alistair Ray (Chairman) - Auckland
  • Will Thresher (Treasurer) - Auckland
  • Lee Beattie (Honorary Secretary) - Auckland
  • Lisa Mein - Auckland
  • Kamelia Haydon - Auckland
  • Ellie Craft - Auckland
  • Michael Hall - Wellington
  • Josie Schroder - Christchurch
  • Tim Church - Christchurch


UDF is managed part-time by Melanie Whittaker manager@urbandesignforum.org.nz

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