Institute News

Conference 2003
Greening the City:
Bringing Biodiversity Back
into the Urban Environment


Planning for Urban Nature in New Zealand

Claire Freeman (Director Planning Programme, Geography Department, University of Otago)

Urban nature remains overlooked and undervalued in New Zealand and nowhere is this more concerning than in the area of urban planning. This paper explores some of the reasons why New Zealand has not embraced urban nature in the way other countries have and the implications this has for urban conservation. It looks at the role of planning and planners in urban nature. Planners' work includes the development of plans, policies, strategies and specific environmental projects all of which can be vital in ensuring not only the protection of areas of natural significance in urban areas but also in planning for more natural cities for the future. It is thus essential that conservationists and those with an interest in urban nature work together gain a better understanding of the role of planners and planning and vice versa.

The second part of this paper presents the findings of a project undertaken in the city of Dunedin to develop an ecological mapping methodology for use in mapping urban habitats. The project was undertaken with the Dunedin City Council who had two particular concerns: to avoid the incremental loss of loss of open space to development and to develop a strategic approach to open space planning. The project results show that whilst Dunedin does indeed have a wealth of natural habitats, in few of these do indigenous species predominate.

This paper concludes by evaluating the project and considering its relevance in planning for urban nature in New Zealand cities.

Conference sponsored by:

British Council NZ
The Community Trust
Landcare Research

Follow this link to view other organisations supportive of the conference

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Last updated: August 2, 2004