High quality, “distinctively Auckland” urban design thinking and built outcomes are critical to successful urban development. Local and international experience has demonstrated that using independent design review panels, comprising leading professionals from a mix of disciplines, is a cost effective tool for creating better quality urban environments. This thinking is in line with The Auckland Plan, which:
  • “Demands good design in all development”
  • “Realises quality compact urban environments”, and
  • “Seeks to create enduring neighbourhoods, centres business areas.”
Prior to amalgamation in 2010, Auckland City Council and Manukau City Council had their own Urban Design Panels, which included respected practitioners of architecture, landscape architecture, planning and property disciplines. These Panels have achieved successful outcomes by influencing significant projects within their local areas. With the formation of the wider Auckland Council, Councillor’s supported the creation of the Auckland Urban Design Panel, which would cover all of Auckland.

The Auckland Urban Design Panel has been established to provide independent design review of significant projects, for both private and public developments. While the benefits of the Panel are many, the Panel’s primary purpose is to assist in achieving a high standard of design quality by reviewing projects and identifying areas for improvement early on in the design process, prior to their lodgement for planning approval.

In 2011-2012, a review was undertaken on the workings of the Auckland Urban Design Panel within the new Council structure. Recognising the value of the Panel’s independence, and its support from leaders within the development industry, the Auckland Urban Design Panel Governance Board was formed. The Governance Board has responsibility for appointing panel members and providing governance advice to Auckland Council on the operation of the Panel. The Board assists in strengthening
Council’s partnership with professional institutes within the industry.

The new Auckland Urban Design Panel will be a key tool in improving the quality of the built environment across all of Auckland, as well as contributing to the realisation of the Mayor’s vision of Auckland becoming the world’s most liveable city.​