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Our Environment: Issue 21 Summer 1999

Our Environment: Christchurch City Council's Environmental Newsletter

Design guide for higher density housing

Well-designed housing developments are not only more saleable but improve the appearance of a neighbourhood.

A new City Council design guide New housing in Living 3 Zones is intended to provide landowners, designers and developers with a checklist when proposing a new housing development in a Living 3 zone - a medium density residential environment in the City.

Too many examples exist of insensitive housing developments, sometimes referred to as chilly bin houses or six packs, says author and urban designer Janet Reeves. They are characterised by high featureless walls, large expanses of asphalt and little greenery.

Part one of the guide looks at site selection and designing the layout of the housing development in relation to its context. Part two deals with the design of buildings while Part three considers outdoor space surrounding the buildings. According to the guide's summary, the most successful schemes amalgamate sites, face the street, conceal cars and respect neighbours. Details such as fence design and planting can enhance new developments.

New housing in Living 3 Zones: A Design Guide

Imaginative design is not merely a matter of complying with the rules. The basic objective of any design should be to produce a development that looks good and works well for all parties. Adjustments can be made, if necessary, to enable the proposal to comply with the rules, or else a resource consent can be sought.

Janet Reeves says it is a good idea for developers to discuss proposals at an early stage with City planners and urban designers. Solutions can then be agreed before detailed plans are drawn.

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