How can we build our homes and communities so that they co-exist harmoniously with Nature? What does it mean to create a sustainable house, a sustainable community, a sustainable city? For each additional day that we live, design and build unsustainably, we pull another fibre out of the fabric of Earth’s ecosystems.

Bamberton - Neighbourhood Planning


This was the message which Bamberton's planners received when they listened to the community. Bamberton incorporates the major concepts of Traditional Neighbourhood Design (TND), in a conscious break away from the suburban patterns of development which have dominated North America since World War II. TND concepts return to the design patterns of older neighbourhoods, with narrower, connecting streets, houses close up to the street, front porches, back lanes, village centres, Village schools, and a neighbourly ambience which encourages face-to-face contact, and enables you to walk to into the village, and stop and talk to your neighbours on the way. The edges of the villages are formed by the natural features of the site, embedding the overall design in nature.


Bamberton's design will allow the use of cars in most areas, but make it easy to get around without them, encouraging people to walk or take a community minibus instead of driving. Many houses will be served by back lanes, so that street-fronts are not dominated by garages. Traffic calming measures will be used wherever roads are not slow enough by design. The town centre will include many steps, elevators, escalators and a moving walkway, to deal with the contours. South Island is in an ongoing dialogue with the Ministry of Transportation and Highways to obtain approval for narrower traditional neighbourhood street standards, in place of the suburban road widths which are the current norm.


To ensure that houses are built in harmony with the social and environmental design principles, building at Bamberton will be governed by a Design Code, which will lay down standards and guidelines for architectural design, energy efficiency, environmental standards, building materials and site protection. The Code will be enforced through the Registered Building Scheme, which will set the standards for development at Bamberton. The architectural code sets down standards designed to encourage continuity of style with regard to such things as fencing, garden walls, roofs, dormers and gutters. Eg "Garage doors shall be a maximum width of 9ft".


One of the deepest intentions in the planning for Bamberton is the commitment to create a town whose residents develop a strong sense of belonging. Design cannot 'create' community - only people can do that, but design can make it easy for people to connect, out of which community grows. The emphasis on such things as tree protection, retaining historical features, narrow pedestrian friendly roads, and familiar architecture should all help to build a sense of place, which becomes deeply meaningful, over time.

Further reading :

Bamberton Volume III - Issues and Principles (SIDC, 1991)

'Paving Paradise' by Michael Kluckner (****)

The New Urbanism, ed Peter Katz. (McGraw Hill, 1994)

Christopher Alexander, A Pattern Language, Vol 1 & 2 (*****)

Urban Design at Bamberton, by Richard Kosheluk (SIDC, 1994)

Architecture at Bamberton, by Richard Kosheluk (SIDC, 1994)