A strategy changing the direction of how Council plans for growth by focussing more on developing existing urban areasis recommended this week for approval by the Tauranga City council.
The strategy emphasises ‘place-making' of town centres to support and accommodate more compact forms of housing, plus retail, community spaces and commercial activities.
Called the Tauranga Urban Strategy, it is intended to guide future development of the city and is an aspirational growth plan, influenced by the community and refined by a series of place making sessions.
“We need a more balanced approach to the management of our growth and we want our community to help shape the plan,” says Chair of the City Transformation Committee Councillor Larry Baldock.
“Traditionally, urban planning has been used to manage and regulate the development of towns and cities. Our Strategy will be a tool for urban transformation.”
Tauranga faces considerable growth pressure. It became New Zealand's fifth largest city in 2016 with 128,000 people, yet it is the fourth smallest Council in terms land area, in NZ.
Growth projections see the population continuing to increase to over 164,000 people in 2033 and almost 200,000 people by 2063.
It is important that the Tauranga Urban Strategy identifies a way forward to cater for future growth pressure, and addresses existing planning through place making of neighbourhood centres, says Larry.
The core components of the draft Tauranga Urban Strategy are:
• A greater proportion and diversity of future dwellings to be provided in the existing urban area of Tauranga
• Residential growth and walkability to be enabled in existing town centres and within a 5-10 minute walk of the town centre (approximately 500m)
• New and revised planning rules will be developed to encourage and incentivise more compact forms of housing in these locations that are appropriate to the Tauranga scale i.e. duplexes, terrace housing and low-rise apartments
• Increased investment in the public transport network to service growing town centres
• Council led place making which will result in investment in infrastructure, facilities, services, amenity, streetscape and quality urban design in town centres
• Change to occur over time in and around town centres but suburban neighbourhoods will see relatively little change
• Growth in greenfield areas will continue but at a reduced rate
“This is an exciting opportunity for Tauranga as we plan for the growth that will define our future urban form. The successful implementation of the Tauranga Urban Strategy will be reliant on community support and Council's commitment and investment in the growth of these areas.
“It is important for the community to provide feedback prior to and during the 2018-28 Long Term Plan process,” says Larry.