What is a design statement?

​​Design Statements are a tool to present the analysis and thinking behind the design of a development proposal.  They use photographs, maps and diagrams, supported by written descriptions, to illustrate the rationale behind a development proposal, showing how it integrates with the development site and surroundings.  They allow the client to understand how the designer has responded to their brief in relation to the conditions of their site and the surrounding neighbourhood.  They communicate how the tensions that exist on all sites have been balanced and resolved.

As a tool to help support quality design outcomes, and improve the efficiency and consistency of resource consent processes, Auckland Council promotes a five-part design statement model. The five components of a design statement explain:
  1. The findings of an analysis of the site by the designer (e.g. topography, natural features, geotechnical constraints etc);
  2. The findings of a wider analysis of the neighbourhood as relevant to your site and development (e.g. movement connections, natural and cultural elements, built form character);
  3. The key components of the planning context (district plan requirements) relevant to the site; 
  4. The designers conclusions as to the key opportunities and constraints of that analysis; and 
  5. How their proposed design responds to them.
The length and complexity of a design statement is generally reflective of the scale and complexity of the project, with a small residential development typically needing much less explanation than a large city-centre office block. ​​
guide to design statements diagram FINAL.jpg