Posted by: Gregory | October 16, 2012

Transport and Urban Design on Radio New Zealand

I was recently sent a link to an excerpt from Radio NZ of an interview with David Engwicht, as he was in town for the Safety 2012 World Conference. I listened through the interview, especially the discussion of the barriers along Willis St, and found myself impressed with his approach. While searching Radio NZ for the summary page, I stumbled upon an interview from 2009. There was some overlap between the two interviews, but the older interview is longer and contains more back-story. It’s worth listening to both, but expect some moments of déjà vu.

Eventually, I found the show notes for the newer interview and met with a pleasant surprise. Just ahead of Engwicht on the programme was an interview with Madeline Brozen, talking about parklets and the concept of complete streets. I was thrilled to see that Radio NZ exploring the relationship between transport planning and urban design. It was a full hour of great ideas.



  1. I did a David Engwicht course, designed for local government officers and politicians, and what he is promoting makes good sense.

    A key is to think of the space between buildings as what really makes a city work well, and be a “place” rather than a “space”. What you do to that space will drive how people behave in it. Make it interesting and complex, and people will spend longer. Make it look like a corridor, and they’ll rush through rapidly.

    I would also emphasise two other things he talks about –

    Do cheap and easily changed things rather than expensive and hard to change things. Then you can experiment until you have something that works. Things that seemed a great idea, or worked somewhere else, might not work this time. Weird ideas just might.

    Allow people to change the space to suit themselves. Simple things like having furniture you can move around, walls you are allowed to decorate, niches you can put small art works…

    • Two quick points to follow up. Firstly, I was speaking to a friend who heard about my proposal for Bond Street. He cuts through there often and has never noticed the space. Secondly, ownership is an incredible motivator. Movable objects objects are great for giving a sense of ownership.

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