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Buildings 2015, 5(1), 69-84; doi:10.3390/buildings5010069

Aiming for a Better Public Realm: Gauging the Effectiveness of Design Control Methods in Wellington, New Zealand

School of Architecture, Victoria University of Wellington, P.O. Box 600, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
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Academic Editor: George Baird
Received: 26 November 2014 / Accepted: 15 January 2015 / Published: 23 January 2015
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Abstract

Design review aims to improve the quality of urban settings, principally by seeking to influence the design of individual buildings positively during the planning approval stages of development. Design review systems were first set up in New Zealand in the mid-1990s in Wellington. The aims of design review are laudable; even if the process is not set up to secure the best possible design outcome it should be able to prevent the worst outrages, so as to ensure a minimal visual quality of streetscapes. However, does design review really achieve what it sets out to do? After a brief summary of design review practices, this article considers whether current design control practices in Wellington are helping to foster well-liked urban streetscapes. Using the results from a recent case study, comparing the aesthetic preferences of the public to those of professionals who participate in design control, the article notes where preferences overlap and where they are different. In the process, the characteristics of buildings and streetscapes that are considered positive and negative are identified. The article goes on to speculate how design review could be made to work more effectively in Wellington. View Full-Text
Keywords: design review; urban design guidance; environmental aesthetics; urban streetscapes design review; urban design guidance; environmental aesthetics; urban streetscapes
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Gjerde, M.; Vale, B. Aiming for a Better Public Realm: Gauging the Effectiveness of Design Control Methods in Wellington, New Zealand. Buildings 2015, 5, 69-84.

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