In 2017 we started a conversation with Wellingtonians about the future of our city, particularly the central area and its surrounding suburbs.

We asked how we should respond to three key challenges:

  • Our population is moving, with the anticipated growth of up to 80,000 people over the next 30 years likely to have a dramatic effect on the way our city looks, feels and operates.
  • The sea and climate are moving, resulting in increases to our vulnerability to the impacts of rising sea levels and severe weather events.
  • The earth is moving, with recent events highlighting vulnerabilities in our city centre.

Based on your responses five clear aspirational goals for the city emerged – that Wellington should be:

Wellington's five aspriational goals: Compact, Resilient, Vibrant and Prosperous, Inclusive and Connected, and Greener

Planning for Growth builds on these goals and is a key Council 10-Year Plan initiative that focuses on bringing the things we value bout Wellington into a wider conversation about how we plan for future growth.

We tested these goals further in May 2019 when we asked for your feedback on four possible future growth scenarios. We received feedback from 1,372 Wellingtonians regarding their aspirations about the future city they want to live in.

View feedback and growth scenarios:

Since then, we have developed a Draft Spatial Plan called Our City Tomorrow –  Draft Spatial Plan for Wellington City based on the feedback we received from the community through this engagement.

Our City Tomorrow (the Draft Spatial Plan) along with reviewing the current District Plan, both will play an instrumental role in shaping how the city looks and feels in future.

This section provides more information about each of the goals and provides some examples of what we could potentially bring to Wellington to achieve these goals.We have also provided more detail in the Draft Spatial Plan about the goals including key directions for each of the goals (see the 'Goals and Directions' section), and associated actions in the Draft Spatial Plan (see the 'Action Plan' section).


We know from the 2019 engagement on growth scenarios that people like Wellington’s compact nature – it’s part of the City’s identity and is one of the things that makes Wellington so liveable. The community has told us that walkable neighbourhoods, supported by good public transport, employment, more green spaces, and other key services are really important for supporting growth and higher density housing.

‘Density done well’ is a key part of the Draft Spatial Plan – we want good quality, healthy homes and neighbourhoods where the community can meet their everyday needs.

To meet our compact city goal, the Draft Spatial Plan proposes a mix of apartment living and higher density in the central city and our existing suburbs. Make sure you tell us your view!

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Inclusive + Connected

People like streets made for walking and cycling, with lots of public spaces. In 2019 we heard that people support reducing personal car use and increasing investment in more sustainable travel behaviour. We also heard that people value those parts of the City that have special character and contribute to our identity, but that a much more targeted approach to protecting these areas may be needed.

Let's Get Wellington Moving and the Cycleways Projects aim to improve our city's transport system, reduce congestion and reduce carbon emissions. There are other examples nearby and overseas that support inclusive and connected lifestyles.

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People want streams and wetlands in the city, more green spaces and trees, and buildings with design features like green roofs. We are lucky to have beautiful hills, trails, beaches and water framing our city where we can be close to nature.

As a city we are doing good things to protect the natural environment.  Being green involves protecting special ecological areas, planting trees, and creating open spaces for people to enjoy.  Planning for less cars on the road to lower our carbon emissions and working to be a zero carbon capital is all part of the plan.

Over the last year we have been working with landowners on our Backyard Taonga project, which is about identifying and protecting our City’s important natural areas of native bush and landscapes around the City.

Here are some other ideas to help us be green.

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We know our city is vulnerable to natural hazards, earthquakes and sea level rise.  This gets us thinking about the future development of areas that are at most risk and how we can best prepare for these types of events.

People need open spaces and places to come together, to care for each other when emergencies happen. Being resilient is about having a strong community around us, a good sustainable food supply as well as a safe place to be, and a plan for recovering.

In the Our City Tomorrow consultation we heard that we should plan in a way that avoids putting people at risk, and ensures a good supply of food and water throughout the city. We want to make sure as a city we are able to take care of our people.

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Vibrant + Prosperous

Our city is already creative and colourful, and we have a chance to make our city even more exciting with new people, of different ages and stages, living at its heart. We are full of innovation and proudly support our art, and artisan start-ups.

All of these things support the City's economy - from the central city through to our suburban centres. This keeps us globally competitive and its important that we balance sustainable economic growth with maintaining our special Wellington 'vibe'.

We've heard that the best thing about this city is the people and that we should maintain our unique character, to do this we must plan and consider how we can create places for people while promoting and encouraging our vibrant economy.

The Draft Spatial Plan presents opportunities for many of our suburban centres to be even more vibrant through medium to higher density mixed use development in and around the centre.

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What do you care about for the future shape of our city?

We are also keen to hear your feedback on the Draft Spatial Plan click here to check it out and tell us your view!

As part of the growth scenarios engagement in 2019, we asked people what they care about most when it comes to deciding the future shape of their city.  Check out these videos to see what people said.

View full video library

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