Urban impacts on the environmental, social, economic and cultural values of water bodies

Urban Planning that Sustains Waterbodies (UPSW)

NIWA is leading research aimed at helping local government to plan the development of New Zealand's cities and settlements in a way which protects and enhances the services and values associated with urban water bodies. The research is part of the multi-disciplinary 'Resilient Urban Futures' project, which is investigating how we can develop cities that are vibrant, resilient, liveable and internationally competitive. 

More information on Resilient Urban Futures 

A pilot spatial decision-support system (SDSS) is being developed that allows the impacts of urban development scenarios on attributes such as water and sediment quality, ecosystem health and cultural, amenity and recreation values to be investigated and compared.

The research involves collaboration with Cawthron Institute and Tipa & Associates to develop a sustainability indexing system which integrates the measurement of environmental, social, economic and cultural impacts and allow planners to consider these impacts holistically. 

A series of research reports describe progress on the development of the SDSS.

And on the supporting research.

For further information on the UPSW research programme:


Auckland skyline seen from the bay. Credit: NIWA
Urban stream crossing. Credit: NIWA