News | 29 June 2022

Breathing life back into Dixon Street

An international methodology called Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) is set to change the urban landscape of Te Aro through the Pōneke Promise, making it a safer, more vibrant, welcoming place to be. We spoke to Urban Regeneration and Design Manager Farzad Zamani about the up-coming changes to Dixon Street and how it’s going to make the area look and feel safer.

A street with buildings on one side and a park on the other.

12 months ago, when the community came together to tell us they didn’t feel safe in the central city anymore, many concerns centred around the Te Aro Park/Dixon Street area. Our data supported this, and we could see that some things needed to change.  

When the Pōneke Promise was launched, we made a commitment with our Partners to improve the feeling of safety and vibrancy in the central city. We’ve delivered some great changes and initiatives for the city so far, and revitalising Dixon Street is next on the list with work due to start early July 2022.  

The work includes:  
  • Widening the footpath along the northern side of Dixon Street with wooden decking. This will visually and physically connect Te Aro Park to the wider area and provide better sightlines to and from the park.  

  • Planters alongside help to slow down traffic, create clear boundaries between the street and pedestrian space, and improve the look and feel of the area.    

  • Installing wooden decking and more planters to enable two ‘parklets’ along the southern side, providing opportunities for public seating and outdoor dining.  

  • Installing two additional speed cushions to slow traffic and improve pedestrian safety.  

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) 

Urban Regeneration and Design Manager Dr. Farzad Zamani explains it’s about more than just making the area look nice.  

“There are some unique challenges in the area including the lack of visibility into the park past the parked cars, blind spots, narrow footpaths and lack of activation. Using CPTED principles, the new design addresses these issues by creating better sightlines to and from the park, slowing the traffic, and providing more pedestrian and outdoor dining space.” 

Local businesses in the area are supportive of the changes and several have already signed up for parklets which will allow them to host outdoor dining. 

The changes are transitionary until Let’s Get Wellington Moving starts work on the Golden Mile in late 2023, but as Dr. Zamani explains, it’s going to make a big difference in the meantime for an area that is crying out for it.  

“The changes will breathe life back into Dixon Street by increasing vibrancy and opening it up to people, which will in turn increase passive surveillance or ‘eyes on’ the street. The buzz of people in a public space does a lot for the perception of safety, and that’s something we’re confident will make a big difference in the area.” 

Revitalising Te Aro Park  

The changes mark the first phase of urban design upgrades to improve the area and recognise the history of Te Aro Park. The park and surrounding area is the former site of Te Aro Pā, making it a place of significance to mana whenua and the city. It was once a pā and kāinga with cultivation fields, kaimoana and Te Waimapihi Stream all nearby – the waters of which now run beneath the city. The next phase of the project in 2023 will involve removing the toilets from their current position, which is culturally inappropriate, and co-designing the space left behind with mana whenua. We are building a new toilet facility over the road in Inglewood Place using CPTED principles, in 2023.  

Phase one work on Dixon Street is due to start early July and will take approximately seven weeks to complete. During that time the road will be open to traffic as usual. For more information visit the project page