When called on to shape the development of one of New Zealand’s fastest growing cities – Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty - RPS knew that success would hinge on an ideal balance struck between culture, lifestyle, environment and economics.
Already the city’s largest suburb, the population of Papamoa on Tauranga’s coastal fringe is expected to grow significantly over the next 40 years, reaching approximately 30,000 by 2060.
To accommodate this boom, the largely rural areas of Wairakei and Te Tumu (commonly referred to as ‘Papamoa East’) have been formally identified as areas for sustained urban growth.
Papamoa East’s local development partners knew that for housing to be affordable into the future, emphasis must be placed on local employment, but they also wanted to ensure the area’s heritage and relaxed coastal lifestyle would be honoured and retained.
That’s where our team’s unique approach to the planning, design and development of strategic growth corridor communities really came to the fore.
Research guides strategy for employment and housing
Drawing on a wealth of experience providing strategic advice to planning authorities and new community developers, RPS’ economics and urban design teams completed a detailed research exercise for the Te Tumu area of Papamoa East, advising Council on appropriate housing product and the realistic densities required to meet projected demand.
Social and economic outcomes were a key component of the study, with the team investigating the scale and type of commercial development required to grow local employment, and strategies to support positive socio-economic outcomes.
A range of development scenarios were tested and recommendations on optimum residential density and yield were put forward. These recommendations allow for flexible development phasing in alignment with market fluctuation, and will ensure non-residential uses can be effectively implemented as the community grows over time.
Urban design brings community together
With economic insights on hand to guide their work, the RPS design team has been working with Papamoa East’s three delivery partners –Tauranga City Council, Bluehaven Management, and the Te Tumu Kaituna 14 Trust to develop a workable, balanced urban framework plan for the area.
Recognising that each partner has a unique vision for the region’s growth and character, our team facilitated a series of collaborative urban design workshops and charrettes that brought stakeholders together to address and develop a common, agreed plan.
By facilitating such an open and communicative process between the Maori landowners’ trust, council planning authority and developer, cross-boundary issues have been identified and resolved early. This is likely to facilitate accelerated delivery in line with local demand, while providing a strong foundation for ‘shared benefit’ as structure and detailed design progresses.
As a result of our work so far, preferred positioning for a new town centre - Golden Sands - has been agreed. The team is now completing detailed concept testing to determine project sequencing and the functional relationships between the new residential development areas, transport infrastructure, employment precincts planned for Wairakei and Te Tumu and the new town centre.