Planning for Growth

To keep pace with the growth of our city, we need to plan for 50,000 to 80,000 more people living in Wellington in the next 30 years.

In early 2019 we’ll be asking the people of Wellington to consider some scenarios about how the city can grow. The scenarios will look at different ways of accommodating growth alongside a range of considerations such as:

  • housing choice
  • transport
  • natural hazards
  • the natural environment and open space
  • heritage and cultural values
  • infrastructure, such as water and drainage

This feedback will be used to develop a draft spatial plan for the city. 


March-April 2019: City-wide engagement on growth scenarios

Mid-2019:  Pre-engagement on key District Plan issues begins

Late 2019:  Engagement on draft Spatial Plan

April-May 2020: Final Spatial Plan adopted

Late 2020: Engagement on draft (non-statutory) District Plan

Late 2021: Public notification of proposed District Plan (statutory process under the Resource Management Act 1991)  - public submissions

What we know so far

In 2017, we asked Wellingtonians what they wanted for our city tomorrow. The people told us they want a city that is:

  • compact
  • inclusive
  • greener
  • resilient
  • vibrant and prosperous.

We also know people support better public transport and more opportunities to walk and cycle around the city. 

We consulted on our 10-year plan earlier this year, which included the Planning for Growth project as a priority. 

People supported our focus on growth and future-proofing the city. 

They also supported us working with partners in government and the community to increase housing supply. Council adopted the 10-Year Plan, including this project in June 2018.


Wellington is recognised as one of the world’s most liveable cities. It is growing rapidly and has a strong economy.

More people want to live here. We are predicting 50,000 to 80,000 more people living in Wellington  in the next 30 years. This will put pressure on transport, infrastructure and housing – particularly in the inner city.

Wellington will require 30,000 more homes, investment in transport infrastructure and higher capacity in water and wastewater infrastructure.

The challenge is to ensure the growth is coordinated and managed well so the city thrives and continues to be a great place to live.  This means housing, employment and infrastructure investment are in the right places.

The city is also naturally constrained by rising sea levels on one side and our distinctive hills on the other. This means we all have to think differently about how we accommodate growth.

We have a restricted number of new areas available for development (‘greenfield’ sites) so we need to look at where, and how, we can develop housing in existing residential areas.

We need to work together on a plan to manage our growth while preserving those things that make our city distinctive, such as our heritage areas, natural environment and public spaces.

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Wellingtonians to shape our future city.

Where next?

Some choices will need to be made wherever we grow. For example, if we put all the extra housing in the inner city it will mean more high rise apartment buildings and less choice for families wanting some private outdoor space. If we put all the growth in greenfield sites it means loss of rural areas and longer commuting for many.

No decisions have been made and we want Wellington residents to take the opportunity to tell us what matters to them when planning the city’s future and to help us make these hard decisions.