Auckland urban greening

Posted on March, 01 2012

Low Impact Urban Design and Development 

Low Impact Urban Design and Development

Low Impact Urban Design and Development (LIUDD) is an approach developed primarily in New Zealand for creating sustainable urban spaces. LIUDD advocates alternative, cost-effective urban design and development by working with nature and creating community environments that respect, conserve and enhance natural processes. Auckland's green corridors provide flood protection and increases the city's resilience in the face of Climate change.

Keywords: Low Impact Urban Design and Development (LIUDD), landscape modification, Low Impact Development (LID)

Low Impact Urban Design and Development (LIUDD) sounds fancy yet at its heart are common sense, eco-responsive solutions such as rain-gardens, green roofs, green corridors, open swales, detention ponds and ecologically friendly pervious surfaces. LIUDD is a New Zealand sustainable cities concept that combines America’s Low Impact Development (LID), Conservation Sub-Divisions (CSD), Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) and Sustainable Building/Green Architecture (SB).

Successful implementation
Auckland’s use of green corridors is aimed at protecting sensitive marginal areas from unsuitable development (see also Stuttgart). On the practical side, infiltration zones and overland flow paths facilitate flood protection by containing even up to a 100-year flood event. Green corridors are much more – home to birds and bees, these reserves provide walkways and cycle paths for inhabitants, enhancing the cityscape.

In Auckland, preliminary results show that ecological conditions in the LIUDD transitional sub-catchments are better than normal for both urban and rural sub-catchments. Exceptional stream quality is also present in LIUDD stream sections that now get little or no storm water. The corridors help reverse 150 years of landscape modification and temper the result of thousands of exotic species introductions in New Zealand by providing space for new introductions of area-appropriate species.

Studies in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres have shown LID and LIUDD have the potential to moderate environmental changes that are the result of urbanization. Research in Washington DC and Gothenburg Sweden indicate that urban parks reduced temperatures by up to 6 degrees Celsius for up to 1,000 m from the boundary for a park of 156 ha. This can reduce the problem of urban heat islands (see also Chicago).

Adaptation to climate change
Urban development and growth are inevitable particularly in rapidly urbanizing emerging economies of the Global South. Implementation of LIUDD offers important foundations for a different type of urban development in such areas. LIUDD uses essentially adaptive practices based on the objectives and constraints of particular locations, communities and developers. In the light of possible impacts of climate change on water availability in areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa, LIUDD may prove crucial in averting water shortages and ameliorating impacts of drought (see also Adelaide and Xeriscaping). It must be acknowledged, however, that for LIUDD to be successful anywhere in the world it must cut across spatial scales and be implementable at household as well as catchment level.

Maria Ignatieva, Colin D. Meurk, Marjorie van Roon, Robyn Simcock, Glenn Stewart, 2008, “How to put nature into our neighbourhoods: application of Low Impact Urban Design and Development (LIUDD) principles, with a biodiversity focus, for New Zealand developers and homeowners”, Urban greening manual, Landcare Research science series, no. 35, Manaaki Whenua Press,

M. Ignatieva, G. Stewart, C. Meurk, 2008, “Low Impact Urban Design and Development (LIUDD): matching urban design and urban ecology”, Landscape review (12) 2

Michael Krausse, 2009, “Approaches to low impact urban design & development
in greenfield development in New Zealand”, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research,

M.R. Van Roon, A. Greenaway, J.E. Dixon, C.T. Eason, 2006, “Low Impact Urban Design and Development: scope, founding principles and collaborative learning”, Proceedings of the Urban Drainage Modelling and Water Sensitive Urban Design Conference, 2 – 7 April 2006, Melbourne, Australia

URBIO, 2010, “Proceedings of the 2nd international conference of urban biodiversity and design”,

Key data are retrieved from the UN World Urbanization Prospects: The 2011 Revision,

Text by: Aaron Thomas

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Green building in Auckland
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