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Better Urban Planning final report

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Wellington, ,

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This report is based on the New Zealand Government commissioning the Productivity Commission to conduct a thorough inquiry into the nation's urban planning system.

The primary objective was to evaluate the existing framework and propose a fundamentally improved system to facilitate land use that supports social, economic, environmental, and cultural outcomes. The commission was tasked with envisioning a high-performing urban planning system, drawing from both domestic experiences and international best practices. The over 500 page resulting report highlights the crucial role of well-functioning cities in enhancing the well-being of New Zealanders by providing access to housing, preserving natural and cultural values, ensuring quality infrastructure, and fostering economic growth. The inquiry underscored the need for a planning framework that is adaptable, responsive, and capable of meeting demand while protecting Māori interests and managing the environmental footprint of urban development. This inquiry is pivotal for understanding the challenges and limitations of New Zealand’s current urban planning system. It offers insights into creating a more effective framework that aligns with the dynamic needs of urban growth, addresses housing affordability, and ensures the sustainable development of cities. By proposing a system that emphasises flexibility, responsiveness, and coordinated governance, the report contributes significantly to the discourse on urban development, planning reforms, and the future of New Zealand’s cities. It stresses the importance of cities as engines of prosperity and places of cultural and social vibrancy, while also acknowledging the costs associated with urban growth. The recommendations aim to strike a balance between development and environmental protection, enhancing the quality of life for all New Zealanders.

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