Urban form and sustainability seminar

At a time of rising house prices in our main urban areas, how can cities respond sustainably to what people want? We held a seminar on urban form and sustainability with speakers Ralph Chapman, Nadine Dodge, Pattern Reid, David Mitchell and Peter Matich.

Urban form and sustainability

This seminar explored city residents’ appetite for more compact (intensified) cities, and how this might be advanced, using case studies from Wellington and Porirua. Ralph Chapman introduced a body of research on compact vs dispersed development, part of the Resilient Urban Futures (RUF) programme, funded by MBIE. Pattern Reid spoke about her research on planning of the northern growth area in Porirua and the consideration given to the integration of urban form and transport in strategic spatial planning. Nadine Dodge presented her work on Wellington’s planning rules and people’s preferences for accessibility, density and other housing and neighbourhood features, as well as the scope for lower carbon emissions development. To give a local perspective, we heard from Peter Matich of Porirua City Council and David Mitchell of Wellington City Council.


Ralph Chapman, Urban form and sustainability, RUF research programme (pdf)

Pattern Reid, Planning for a low carbon future: Integrating sustainable transport into urban planning – Porirua case study (pdf)


Associate Professor Ralph Chapman is an economist who has worked in government and the private sector as a consultant. He is director of the Graduate Programme in Environmental Studies, Victoria University of Wellington and is a researcher on climate change policies. Ralph is co-director of the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities where his work focuses on urban form and implications for carbon emissions. He has become interested in practical ways of doing something about climate change – that is, mitigation policies in transport, energy, housing and cities.

Nadine Dodge is a PhD candidate in Environmental Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. Her work is part of the Resilient Urban Futures programme and focuses on the relative costs and benefits of compact and dispersed development in New Zealand cities. These include the costs of providing infrastructure and services, travel-related carbon emissions, active travel health effects, and the benefits that individuals derive from residing in certain neighbourhoods and dwellings.

Pattern Reid is a recent graduate from Victoria University, with an MEnvStud. Her research interests include planning for urban sustainability, sustainable transport and freshwater issues. She works as an analyst at the Ministry for the Environment and is involved in implementing the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management.

David Mitchell is a spatial planning advisor at Wellington City Council. He is a planner and urban designer originally from Australia. He has been involved in work on the Council’s Urban Growth Plan, town centre planning, medium density and high density housing and most recently some transport planning.

Peter Matich is a senior planning analyst at Porirua City Council. He has extensive experience in environmental resource management, district planning and strategic land use planning within local government. In recent years, he has been the project manager responsible for preparing structure plans aimed at addressing future land use transition within Porirua. These include the Porirua City Council’s Northern Growth Area Structure Plan; a Council-led future urban planning strategy that was developed in consultation with local communities, landowners, tangata whenua, and various other stakeholder agencies.
For further information, please contact jasmine.xu@otago.ac.nz