Urban design

The Council funds improvement projects throughout Wellington to provide high-quality public spaces and to enhance the liveability of the central city and suburban environments.

Inner-city street.
Inner-city street

Sensitive development of public spaces helps people enjoy the city and adds to our civic pride and our 'sense of place'.

The central city's public spaces bring people together and are venues for a wide range of events and recreational opportunities at the regional and city level. The impact of the central city's public spaces on visitors' perception and on the attractiveness of the area for businesses and residents highlights the importance of high-quality design.

At the local level, physical improvements in suburban centres contribute to the quality of life of communities and the vitality of local businesses.

Design objectives

Wellington urban design upgrades address a number of key objectives, such as:

  • Walkability - making Wellington's streets and spaces as people-friendly as possible. Well-designed streets are critical to creating attractive and lively public spaces.
  • Sense of identity and place - identifying and enhancing the qualities and characteristics that make Wellington special, including conserving the city's built heritage.
  • Connectivity - making sure there are good connections and it's easy to move to and through the central city, town centres and suburbs.
  • Accessibility - easily accessible places and spaces so everyone can get around.
  • Sustainability - recognising the natural environment and using sustainable design solutions where appropriate.
  • Safety - making sure public places and spaces are as safe and pleasant for people as possible.

Current initiatives

Urban design initiatives in Wellington include developing more parks and open spaces, enhancing city streets, and requiring ground floors of building to be publicly accessible.

Central City

The Central City Framework plans for growing and improving Wellington's city centre for the next 30 years. The framework aims to improve the streets, built form and open spaces in the central city. It also allows for creating precinct plans to add to the urban character of different areas.

Urban design work will primarily focus on the following areas identified in the framework:

  • Streets - north-south boulevards; east-west green links; laneways; irregular streets.
  • Built structure - building quality; built heritage; strategic sites.
  • Open space - triangular spaces; green walls and roofs; stream streets; landscape (areas).
  • Precincts - parliamentary; memorial; Te Aro (east); Victoria - Cuba; waterfront; Pipitea.
  • Systems infrastructure - green infrastructure; movement; climate.

Suburban centres

The Council also works to improve key suburban centres through urban design upgrades. For current activities, see our project pages.