Intensification from a low-density urban environment to the scale of 6+ storeys proposed by the draft Spatial Plan and the NPS-UD is relatively uncharted territory in New Zealand. The overall effect that this step change in built form will have on residential amenity in major cities is currently uncertain. This study uses a multidisciplinary approach of urban design and planning, combined with 3D modelling techniques, to identify and examine anticipated impacts of intensification on residential amenity and to seek an optimal solution. The use of modelling software allowed different planning options and associated effects to be explored and assessed; and graphical translation of these options into a realistic 3D setting enabled a clear understanding of the interdependencies of planning provisions and the effects they have on the amenity.
The 3D output increased the efficiency of workshops convened with Council planners and urban designers, and also offers a means to convey complex information and interrelationships in a visual and easily understandable manner. As the NPS-UD requires all major cities in New Zealand to enable the development of 6+ storeys this study offers a timely and seminal contribution to current planning practice in New Zealand, particularly given the significant focus placed on the role of intensification in addressing the issue of housing affordability across the country.