GOD help us: Greenspace Oriented Development

– an alternative strategy for urban densification in suburban cities

Monday 6th November



Communities often regard ‘Business As Usual’ urban densification as an assault on the suburban dream. In response, this presentation stakes out the potential of Greenspace Oriented Development (GOD) in which urban density is correlated with upgraded green spaces with reasonable access to public transport. These parks will provide the amenity – otherwise offered by suburban backyards – to adjacent residents living in medium density infill development. Through such strategies, GOD offers a 21st century model for urban densification that aligns with the lifestyle aspirations of Australasia’s suburban residents. GOD help us!

Background reading on Green-oriented Development

Complementary to transit-oriented development, greenspace-oriented development builds upon the now well-recognised array of benefits of green spaces for urban dwellers. Most importantly, it underpins approaches to making our cities more sustainable and liveable.

Read more here: Overview in LA+ Interdisciplinary Journal of Landscape Architecture

Are we building harder, hotter cities?

Highly recommended reading from Alan Whiteley, this report from the Parlimentary Commissioner for the Enviroment, March 2023, (PCE), states:

The fabric of our cities is changing rapidly in response to ongoing population growth. What will the impact be on places like our lawns and vegetable gardens, roadside berms, neighbourhood parks, riparian strips, patches of bush, school fields, golf courses and civic gardens?

The Commissioner has investigated the ongoing changes to our urban green space and the environmental services these spaces provide. Temperature regulation, stormwater management, air filtration and habitat provision don’t just benefit individuals, they benefit everyone around them. They can be considered a form of infrastructure every bit as important as pipes and roads.

View here





Dr Julian Bolleter is the Co-Director at the Australian Urban Design Research Centre (AUDRC) at the University of Western Australia and is the Program Director of AUDRC’s Master of Urban Design course.

His role at the AUDRC also includes conducting research projects for the Australian Research Council and Western Australian state government. Julian is an experienced urban designer and has practised in Australia, the USA, the UK and the Middle East. He has completed a PhD and has commercially published six books and has received funding from the Australian Research Council, Healthways and the Western Australian Government.


Alan is the Landscape Architecture and Urban Design Director for WSP NZ. His experience comes through delivery of complex and large-scale projects in New Zealand, Middle East & UK. Alan’s key focus has been on residential and transport infrastructure projects in which systems-wide thinking has been paramount to the success of delivery.

His role at WSP ensures that a nature first, people focused approach to urban development can deliver the outcomes of densification whilst aligning with biophilic uplift. He is passionate about advocating for the value of green space in growing cities and how they positively impact people’s lives and the wider socio-environmental system.

Wellington Regional Leadership Committee

100 Cuba Street, Wellington
New Zealand

E: hello@wrlc.org.nz W: www.wrlc.org.nz