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Resource material › Building Sustainable Urban Communities › Glossary

(Building Sustainable Urban Communities - discussion document)

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    Note: For the purposes of this document, the following definitions are used.

    Accountability: the way a public body is held answerable to the public and/or a higher authority for the decisions it takes, including requirements to inform and consult on its plans, report on its performance (financial and otherwise) and potentially face consequences for poor performance.

    Affordable housing: includes social housing, rental housing and owner-occupier housing. A number of measures are used, generally relating direct housing costs to household income. The usually accepted measure is that housing is considered ‘affordable’ if the household is spending less than 30-40 percent of net household income on housing costs — with ownership costs tending to be higher than rental costs (because a saving element is included).

    Amenity: The qualities and attributes people value about a place that contribute to ‘quality of life’ in that place, such as schools, services, and community and recreational facilities.

    Brownfield: disused or under-utilised industrial or commercial land and facilities that may be contaminated by low concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution and have the potential to be reused once cleaned up (remediated). In some areas the term is used to describe any land with existing built uses, regardless of whether environmental remediation is needed.

    Brownfield development: redevelopment of land which changes it from one built use to another (often from industrial or commercial to housing/mixed uses).

    Complex and/or strategically important projects: Project locations where there is any combination of:

      • large scale, multiple ownership, major infrastructural or other public investment (e.g. rail or programmes to deal with high socials needs)
      • a location that is adjacent to another local authority area or spans local authority boundaries
      • a need for successful redevelopment to achieve strategic objectives at regional or national level
    Concept Plan: a conceptual plan of how a site can be developed, which is less detailed than a master development plan (see master development plan). It can also be used to illustrate proposals at the city-wide, sub-regional or regional scale. The design concept is developed in a plan format, often accompanied by sketch plans and/or a model of the project.

    Co-ordination/integration: relates to the ways policies, plans and programmes are developed and implemented. In this context, co-ordination is the process of ensuring that the delivery of programmes and investment (especially timing and sequencing) maximises their combined effectiveness and efficiency, while ensuring that any overlaps in the scope of individual programmes and investments are actively managed to avoid conflicts. Integration refers to the way in which different policies, plans and programmes, with distinct intentions or outcomes, can be deliberately designed to support or enhance each other. Integration is therefore more of a strategic issue, looking particularly for ‘win-win’ results.

    Density: (see also intensification) the spatial compactness of urban development in a given area (e.g. housing density, which can be measured in dwellings per hectare). Typical densities are: for single family homes on individual sections, 10-25 dwellings per hectare; for townhouses and flats, 50-100 dwellings per hectare; for an apartment block, 125-250 dwellings per hectare. Population density (residents per hectare) and employment density (full-time equivalent jobs per hectare) are also useful measures of the intensity or compactness of urban development.

    Designation: (see also requiring authority) a provision made in a district plan providing notice to the community that a requiring authority intends to use land in the future for a particular work or project. Once a site is designated for a particular purpose, the requiring authority is able to: proceed with the specific work on the site as if it was permitted by the district plan; control activities that occur on the site, prevent the landowner doing anything that would compromise the future public work; apply to the Minister of Lands to compulsorily purchase or lease all or part of the land under the Public Works Act 1981; enter private land to undertake investigations.

    Development control: the process by which a local authority makes decisions about the way development proceeds by setting rules, requiring consents for various aspects of development before they can proceed, inspecting to ensure that conditions and standards are being met, and certifying compliance with requirements.

    Development contributions: contributions able to be charged under the Local Government Act 2002 to fund the additional infrastructure that a local authority needs to provide as a direct result of new developments.

    Development organisation: an organisation with responsibility for planning, developing and managing an urban development project, and with accountability for delivery of the agreed project objectives.

    Economies of scale: the economic tendency for the cost of production per unit to fall as the scale of production increases.

    Financial contributions: charges on resource consents under the Resource Management Act 1991 to fund measures to avoid, remedy or mitigate the adverse environmental effects of a development.

    Greenfield development: built development (industrial, commercial, residential or mixed use) on a piece of previously undeveloped land (generally on the urban fringe), which had been either used for agriculture or was in its natural state.

    Intensification: (see also density) the process of increasing the density of development in an urban area. Residential intensification involves accommodating more households within an existing urban area. It could involve apartments above commercial activities or town-houses and terrace housing around town centres, along with a range of different housing types.

    Intermediate market: households not eligible for social housing assistance, which would in the past have been able to move from rental into home ownership, but which cannot today afford home ownership prices on their current incomes and saving ability.

    Land assembly: buying or otherwise acquiring the necessary land or development rights to enable a particular form of development to be undertaken, where that development requires a certain size, location or configuration of land sites to be practical or viable to proceed.

    Land-banking: buying land at a fair price when it becomes available and holding it for a future purpose, usually with a view to putting the land to some higher-value use, or benefiting from the rise in the market price as higher-value uses become possible or recognised.

    Land readjustment: assembling a large redevelopment parcel of land by giving property owners a stake in the redevelopment project. This involves working with a number of land-owners so that their collective land holdings can be assembled together or packaged up to enable a new, higher-value pattern of development from which they can all benefit in the form of a new arrangement of ownership rights.

    Mana whenua: customary authority exercised by an iwi or hapû in an identified area.

    Master development plan: the final expected outcome of a large site development. This plan describes the physical configuration and phasing of buildings, infrastructure and/or public spaces and may be used to direct development on smaller sites within the plan area.

    Mixed communities: communities incorporating a range of housing types/sizes, household types, incomes and housing tenures.

    Mixed use: compatible and complementary activities within an area (often of a mixed residential, business, recreational, retail or hospitality nature).

    Place-based approach: planning and development approaches based on specific physical locations and their geographical and spatial relationship to other areas, which recognise the unique characteristics of each area being considered.

    Public good: In common usage this refers to products, amenities or services provided by some public body for the wider public benefit. In strict economic terms, a public good refers to something of value that is unlikely to be provided for profit by the private market to the ultimate end-users or consumers due to a combination of two factors: 1) once it has been supplied to one person, it is not possible to stop or exclude others from using or enjoying it; 2) its availability, consumption or use by one person does not reduce its availability for use by others.

    Public transport node: a focal point in a public transport network which is suitable for more intensive urban development.

    Requiring authority: a Minister of the Crown, a local authority, or a network utility operator approved (under the Resource Management Act 1991) as a requiring authority, with the ability to have areas of land designated for use as network utilities or large public works.

    Transit-oriented development: the creation of compact, walkable communities centred around high quality public transport systems, which make it possible to live a higher-quality life with reduced dependence on a car for mobility.

    Urban design: Urban design is concerned with the design of the buildings, places, spaces and networks that make up our towns and cities, and the ways people use them. It ranges in scale from a metropolitan region, city or town down to a street, public space or even a single building. Urban design is concerned not just with appearances and built form but with the environmental, economic, social and cultural consequences of design. It is an approach that draws together many different sectors and professions, and it includes both the process of decision-making as well as the outcomes of design.

    Urban form: the physical form of a city including the layout of buildings, transport networks (e.g. roads and rail), open spaces and other physical infrastructure.

    Value uplift: occurs when a landowner benefits from an increase in the market value of a piece of land, usually associated with either a change in its development potential or the planning regime, enabling it to be put to a higher-value use (e.g. from stand-alone single home to terrace or apartment construction, or from farming to residential-use zoning), and/or investments and improvements made by public bodies or other property owners nearby.

    Value uplift levy: a requirement for a property owner to pay some proportion of the property value increase created when the scope for, or intensity of, development on a site is increased by a zoning change or development approval, and/or the provision of infrastructure and/or other public amenities

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