Wellington Scoop

Another survey: LGWM wants to know how we “live, work and play”

News from LGWM
Let’s Get Wellington Moving is working with Denmark-based Gehl Architects to study how Wellingtonians live, work and play and to identify opportunities to raise the urban quality and liveability of Wellington city.

Creating a liveable city starts with a deep understanding of people’s behaviour and needs, placing people first in planning and decision-making processes. The Gehl Public Space Public Life methodology promotes more liveable places by looking at relationships between the built environment, people’s movements around the city and their quality of life. It is an internationally recognised research approach that has been used as a best practice model to guide wide-ranging transport and urban development projects around the world.

The study will help Let’s Get Wellington Moving prioritise and evaluate future projects. It will also help the Programme time its projects in a way that ensures Wellington retains, and enhances, its unique character and liveability during times of major change. The Wellington City Council will use the findings to inform its work on Planning for Growth.

Surveyors will be on the streets of central Wellington at the end of the month. They will observe pedestrian, cycle and vehicle movements, demographics, public transport and use of parking, green spaces and recreational areas. The data will then be analysed by the team of specialists in Denmark before a final report and recommendations are released in June.

Gehl Architects completed a similar benchmark study for Wellington City Council in 2004. This follow-up study will fill a gap in our understanding of how people’s movements around the city and quality of life have changed over the last seventeen years.

Henriette Vamberg, Gehl Architects Managing Director and Partner, says “Gehl will provide our advice on how Wellington can grow and transform while building on the foundation of people and places. Wellington has a great potential for becoming an even more livable and inclusive city and we look forward to find ways, how the potential can be realised”.

Let’s Get Wellington Moving is a partnership between Wellington City Council, the Regional Council and the NZ Transport Agency.


  1. Peter Steven, 17. March 2021, 11:07

    I for one welcome our new Danish overlords. In all seriousness, this sounds great. We absolutely need more European perspectives and input when it comes to transport and urban planning in New Zealand.

  2. Traveller, 17. March 2021, 11:14

    Gehl did a great series of recommendations for Wellington in 2004. A pity that the city council ignored most of them. The 2004 “city to waterfront study” said that unlimited vehicular traffic was causing deterioration of the city’s streetscape, and the city centre was dominated by car parking. It called for improved conditions for walking and cycling. “City streets have been turned into highways,” said the Gehl report. “Traffic will keep growing as long as it is easy to drive.”

  3. Ms Green, 17. March 2021, 11:41

    Here here. Or should I say hear hear?

  4. Greenwelly, 17. March 2021, 12:17

    We are how many years into LGWM and they are doing this basic stuff now … The most pertinent question must be “why was this not undertaken as part of the Golden Mile proposal”… and the answer is (but will never be admitted) that the Golden mile proposals were all about making bus travel faster, the pedestrian bits were just a bonus.

  5. John Smith, 17. March 2021, 12:40

    Are we only this far along the LGWM process, that this basic stuff is only being done now? Cynically, I suspect, that like 2004, the content of the report produced by Gehl will be ignored again. But at least it helps us to keep kicking the can down the road, and ignore any sense of urgency. When the first asphalt sod is turned for LGWM in 2035 to actually start proceedings on the 20 year work plan, I’ll be safely tucked up in my retirement village! 🙂

  6. Mike Mellor, 17. March 2021, 12:48

    The Gehl 2004 study is still online here. It’s well worth a read.

  7. Mike Mellor, 17. March 2021, 12:57

    Greenwelly: re “the answer is (but will never be admitted) that the Golden mile proposals were all about making bus travel faster, the pedestrian bits were just a bonus”, all I’d say is that it’s unreasonable to expect anyone to admit to anything that isn’t actually the case; and as an update to the 2004 study, the new study will be an input to the CBD-wide City Streets part of LGWM, yet to be consulted on, rather than the tightly-focussed Golden Mile consultation (which of course had to have a significant, but not exclusive, focus on bus movements).

  8. James, 17. March 2021, 14:21

    It would be useful for the Wellington City Council to produce a report setting out what happened in respect of the previous recommendations, which were expected to “define the direction of the city for at least the next 20 years”.

  9. michael, 17. March 2021, 15:12

    Why not just dust the first report off and use it? The only ones laughing all the way to the bank are the consultants, as the rest of us are so sick and tired of endless reports and no results.

  10. Kara, 17. March 2021, 17:32

    …and the continual waste of money.

  11. Northland, 17. March 2021, 20:13

    Wow this is pretty unbelievable. I could say a thousand words about how LGWM has turned into a massive waste of space – a pointless exercise in keeping some of Wellington’s middle class safely employed – but I think this Australian TV show says it so much better. Enjoy!

  12. Alan, 18. March 2021, 9:01

    When are these people actually going to do SOMETHING tangible we can see?

  13. TrevorH, 18. March 2021, 9:25

    LGWM is our very own bureaucratic boondoggle.

  14. Peter Kerr, 18. March 2021, 9:30

    @Alan – falling on swords perhaps.

  15. Andy Foster, 18. March 2021, 9:46

    Mike Mellor is right – well worth a reread of the original 2004 Jan Gehl report.

    What was clear in the 2004 report is that they fully expected that there would be change over time rather than instant change. Many things it suggested have been done, others have not, several significant ones are pending. It will be very interesting to see the respective reports including observations about changes in pedestrian, biking and vehicle traffic.

    Some of the things that have been done since 2004 include –
    – Much larger numbers of people living in the Central City – really important for our city.
    – Obviously the evolving impacts from Covid.
    – Very significant transformation of the Waterfront – pedestrian counts will be far higher along the Waterfront now than in 2004. That’s included buildings, public spaces and Waitangi Park, opening up of FKP wall for shops etc
    Lambton Quay and Willis Street in particular both significantly upgraded – wider footpaths/amenity etc. Cuba St and Manners Street changes. Creation of laneways – from Lombard Lane to Leeds/Eva/Hannahs Courtyard some improved connections Terrace – LQ. Chews Lane. Victoria St was a bit out of their main study area but also changed.
    The boulevard planting along Jervois Quay and tree planting along Cable St (waterfront edge) – but not a reduction in lanes along the Quay. Shared path along past Centreport.
    Ghuznee St traffic reduced by moving State Highway to Karo Drive.
    Changes to Bunny St – Railway Station forecourt area.
    Gehl report talks about cycling policy and progressive improvement and that has certainly been happening, obviously work is ongoing notably around the bays.
    Reduced speed limits – initially on Golden Mile and more recently CBD as a whole.
    Increasing outdoor dining etc.

    The comments they make about Civic Square resonate – and we will have a new Framework for consultation shortly as we look to rejuvenate and rebuild.

    I would encourage people to have a re-read of the original report. You will note that the release above focuses on LGWM but also on our City Spatial Plan work. One of the key things about LGWM is that we need to ensure that ‘place’ is not lost in transport – ie that transport serves the city, not the other way around. Having Gehl back again will help both LGWM and the Spatial Plan.
    Kind regards, Andy

  16. Tramp Stamp, 18. March 2021, 9:55

    Alan they have. They lowered the speed limit in the city to 30km/h. That sure got welly moving, moving to queensgate and north city.

  17. Greenwelly, 18. March 2021, 9:57

    @Alan, So far the only LGWM policy implemented is the lowering of the inner city speed limit from 50km/h to 30 … Haven’t you noticed the city being a “more pleasant and relaxed place, and provid[ing] a better environment for people walking and on bikes.” ???

  18. Alan, 18. March 2021, 11:14

    @Greenwelly. Is that why the fumes take longer to clear. Thanks LGWM.

  19. Mike Mellor, 18. March 2021, 11:55

    Greenwelly: nobody expects the lowering of a speed limit to have dramatic results on its own. As LGWM says, it is the “first step in encouraging more people to walk and cycle in the central city.”

    Tramp Stamp: lowering the maximum speed in a dense city network has minimal effect on the average or overall speed, but making things that bit better for everyone not in a vehicle (as nearly everyone is when they’ve arrived in the city).

  20. Steve W, 18. March 2021, 16:36

    It will be interesting to see a comparison between the number of people using the CBD in 2004 and the number using it now. Because we can work from home, a lot of people don’t bother coming into town, and the footpaths and shops are empty. I can’t see people rushing to come back to the CBD any time soon.


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