The site at the edge of the townships boundaries featured a network of ancient, but neglected, volcanic stream beds that traversed the site and connected to the nationally significant Lake Taupo. Creating a central Grand Avenue not only linked the gulley networks, but also connected the wider township’s amenities and established a wider circuit for future public transport networks that the town had been missing.
The strong natural-regeneration landscape framework also provided the foundation for open space features, development character precincts and the location of mixed use centres. This also resulted in numerous benefits to the wider community including:• Extensive restoration and development of the natural gulley systems
• Provision of high quality urban parks and a wider public realm
• Low vehicle dependency
• A high level of pedestrian-orientated streets
• A comprehensive network of cycleway and pedestrian connections
• Over 2,200 low energy consuming houses
• A range of housing typologies that would facilitate lifecycle living choices
• A series of mixed use nodes including a comprehensive Village Centre
• Provision of services that were missing from the area
• A range of employment opportunities
The key to these outcomes was extensive analysis of both environmental and social parameters combined with a consultative design-led process. The outcomes exceeded all targets set and resulted in a truncated planning process.
Tauhara Ridge is set to become one of the major catalysts for the wider economic regeneration and re-development for the District. Many of the lessons learnt here, and design approaches adopted, are now being assimilated into other developments around New Zealand.