Submission on infill housing in Wellington City 2007

Promoting quality of place – a targeted approach to infill housing in Wellington City


Response by Living Streets Wellington


Thank you for the opportunity to provide a submission on this. 

For any further clarification the contact point is: Brent Efford

On behalf of: Living Streets Wellington

Email: brent.efford at



Living Streets Wellington is the local branch of Living Streets Aotearoa, whose vision is:

More people walking more often and enjoying public places - young and old, fast and slow, walking, sitting and standing, commuting, shopping, between appointments, for exercise, for leisure and for pleasure.

We believe that quality urban design, embracing the principles of the planning movement often known as new urbanism, is a key part of achieving that vision. We support smart growth – inhibiting urban sprawl and building communities where most people can achieve the daily access they require without recourse to motor vehicles. This will support:

  1. Better environmental outcomes, through less use of fossil fuels and reduced noise etc
  2. Improved public health through more daily physical activity
  3. A more liveable urban environment
  4. A more prosperous inner city through greater pedestrian densities and improved access and that “big city buzz”.

This means encouraging all of:

  • Higher density and mixed development of residential, employment, retail, leisure and community services, to ensure that most needs can be met within walking distance for most people most of the time
  • High quality pedestrian routes and facilities, so that walking is attractive and safe
  • Easy access to high quality regular public transport.


A well-managed infill housing strategy can support all of these aims, and Living Streets supports the Wellington City Council’s intention to develop such a strategy.

Answers to specific questions


1        Should the Council direct housing development to areas with supporting infrastructure and good access to public transport?

Yes – that would be consistent with the principles above.


2        Should the Council direct housing development away from areas sensitive to residential development including coastlines, steep slopes and key employment areas?

Yes – but heavily qualified. Hilltop areas are also likely to have poor public transport and be very car-dependent (as well as often being areas of natural or recreational importance).


3        Do you support the current approach of being able to build townhouses, terrace houses and low rise apartments anywhere in the suburbs and commercial areas?

No – not literally “anywhere” - areas not within easy walking distance of facilities and good public transport are likely to be more car-dependent and should not be densified.  Therefore densification should only occur alongside new regular (seven days a week) public transport infrastructure.  Also, denser infill housing may require better public space, landscaping, play areas and parks.


4        Do you support identifying areas of stability – where infill housing would be tightly controlled or not allowed at all? Provide examples.

Yes – in all the hilltop areas – Karori West, Maupuia, Seatoun Heights, etc

It should be permitted but subject to tight heritage and character controls in areas like Aro Valley, western Thorndon, Mt Victoria etc.


5        Do you support identifying areas of change – where housing re-development would be encouraged resulting in moderate to significant increases in residential density? Provide examples.

Yes - as long as heritage buildings and sunlight access are protected it should be more permissive in central Te Aro, CBD, eastern Thorndon, Adelaide Rd/central Newtown, Karori, Kilbirne and other ‘existing villages’ ie. areas with high existing public transport and shopping facilities.  The growth spine should be a key area for encouraging such change.  Also transit-oriented developments should be actively encouraged around the Johnsonville Railway, Takapu Rd, Tawa etc.


6        Do you think a targeted approach to infill housing would better meet the needs of our population and lead to a more efficient, sustainable and better quality city?

Yes – infill is not appropriate everywhere, and must be managed to protect heritage and amenity values. We support the growth spine as the focus for densification – and urge that it be strengthened by extending rail services through it.


7        Do you have any additional comments? You may wish to attach additional papers.

A targeted approach to infill housing must involve infrastructure provision to be developed ahead of demand and this will require the involvement of other stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education for schools. 

Development contributions can be focused to provide targeted infill housing in already developed areas.

Currently WCC requires such housing developments to provide a carpark, which reduces the likelihood of accessing public transport services.  By reducing the provision of car parks along areas such as the growth spine, more space would be generated along with many other benefits. 

The title of this submission is not entirely reflective in that the issue is about more than just infill housing.  If this policy covers major redevelopments there would be additional matters eg. socio-economic groupings, connections between areas and the issue of gated communities, which Living Streets Wellington does not support.

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About Us

Living Streets Aotearoa is the New Zealand organisation for people on foot, promoting walking-friendly communities. We are a nationwide organisation with local branches and affiliates throughout New Zealand.

We want more people walking and enjoying public spaces be they young or old, fast or slow, whether walking, sitting, commuting, shopping, between appointments, or out on the streets for exercise, for leisure or for pleasure.

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