Integrating sustainable transport, planning and urban design

Where presented/published

(July) NZ Planning Institute (Nelson Marlborough branch)

Andrew Macbeth, one of the Christchurch directors of ViaStrada, gave an illustrated presentation to a lunchtime meeting of the New Zealand Planning Institute (Nelson Marlborough branch) in Nelson's city council chamber on 28 July 2010. The talk was based on Andrew's recent trip to Copenhagen to attend the Velo-City cycling conference, written up elsewhere on the ViaStrada website. A record turnout of about 70 professionals attended from Nelson City Council, Tasman District Council, Marlborough District Council and a wide variety of other public and private organisations.

Registrations were closed earlier in the week because the Nelson council chamber's capacity would be exceeded. After the presentation, Andrew was joined by Andrew James, Transportation Manager for Nelson City Council and Peter Constantine, Principal Planner for Marlborough District Council, to field questions as a panel. Thanks to Nelson City Council for co-sponsoring the event (with ViaStrada) by assisting with the venue and lunch!

Later that day, Andrew presented to about 20 members of the Nelson/Tasman/Marlborough Sustainability Forum. In both sessions, interest levels and numbers of questions were high. One of the themes of the presentation is that traffic engineering and urban design are practised in the same space (our towns and cities) and thus need to be integrated. He referred to the Urban Design Protocol's interest in facilitating dialogue amongst relevant professionals. Andrew's conclusions were:

  • Integrating sustainable transport, planning and urban design is the way of the future
  • Walking and cycling are a key part of the solution, to create vibrant, sustainable urban areas
  • All of us (urban designers, planners, architects, landscape architects, surveyors, developers, health professionals, sustainability advocates, engineers, politicians and the general public) have a role in great urban design
  • Leadership is needed, both technical and political
  • Denmark and The Netherlands started reducing the impacts of motor vehicles on their cities 40 years ago - but NZ should be able to learn from European experience and implement change much faster
  • Take small steps (1 project at a time)
  • Nothing can be achieved without action - as they say, just do it!

The presentation features numerous photos from Andrew's visits to Copenhagen, Cambridge, Bristol and Bath, and others from elsewhere in Europe. Photos of good practice examples from Nelson and Christchurch are also included. The presentation is available from our website.

Andrew Macbeth