Free, independent design review advice to support high quality design outcomes for Ōtautahi Christchurch.

Private developers are encouraged to submit their plans to the panel for a pre-application review to provide greater certainty at the resource consent application stage. Major urban projects the Council is undertaking will also be submitted to the panel for review.

How the panel can help

  • Early review supports the resource consent process through the resolution of design issues.
  • Recommendations can support design-related non-compliance in consent applications.
  • Advice is provided at no cost to developers to assist in achieving high-quality design outcomes and enable opportunities for added value to be explored.

Working with the panel

 Design review process flowchart

Design review process (select to enlarge)

Developers are encouraged to submit their plans for Panel review at the pre-application stage. This enables issues to be raised early in design development and supports the consent process.

The Panel provides independent advice and is not a decision-making body for resource consent applications. Recommendations from the Panel will be considered, among other matters, by a Council planner when processing a resource consent. Decisions on consent applications rest with the Council or the delegated decision-making body (e.g. commissioner).

Panel meetings are not open to the public and information provided to the Panel is held in confidence. Panel recommendations become a public record once a resource consent application is lodged.

A review consists of three to four Panellists meeting with the developer and their designer/agent to understand the design objectives, constraints and outcomes sought. The Panel's recommendations represent its consensus following the review meeting, and will generally be provided to the applicant within five working days. 

To prepare for review by the Panel refer to the Guidance document:

Triggers for design review by the Panel


The Terms of Reference includes the types of proposals that may be reviewed by the Panel. The criteria reflect where urban design provisions apply in the District Plan and the scale, complexity and sensitivity of developments.  

The Panel shall consider proposals that meet the following criteria:

  1. Proposals that require a resource consent from Christchurch City Council for a restricted discretionary, discretionary or non-complying activity, and that trigger a requirement for an urban design assessment that:
    1. Is for a residential, commercial or community activity and meets one or more of the following:
      • a residential development with eight or more residential units
      • a mixed-use development with three or more residential units
      • a new building or an extension to a building that includes substantive changes to a key building façade, within the Commercial Central City, Commercial Core or Commercial Local Zones.
    2. Is considered to be of significance by a Principal Urban Design Advisor or Urban Design Team Leader, in respect to one or more of the following matters relating to its context:
      • scale and potential adverse effects on either users or the activities that take place on the site
      • location and potential adverse effects on surrounding areas/ public spaces/ environment
      • potential adverse effects on the local community or the general public.
  2. Christchurch City Council capital projects with a value of $2.5 million or greater, and/or any major infrastructure project intended for public use, or to which the public has regular access.
  3. On the advice of a Principal Urban Design Advisor or Urban Design Team Leader, the Panel may also review:
      • Christchurch City Council projects and resource consents, to ensure the Council demonstrates best practice in its own development projects 
      • Christchurch City Council policy and strategy work, such as plan changes, design guides or structure plans, to ensure the professional opinions of the design and development communities are taken into account.

Where the applicant wishes to take a proposal to the Panel that does not fit the criteria outlined above, Council staff will consider whether it is of a scale and complexity that warrants design review.


    Panellists were selected following an open call for expressions of interest. They are leading practitioners and academics from the following core disciplines, and also bring specialist areas of expertise:

    • urban design
    • architecture
    • landscape architecture
    • property

      Each panel meeting will include three or four panellists drawn from the larger pool, to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest and to allow for specialist advice when needed.

      Banks Peninsula design review panels

      Design review panels have been established for Lyttelton and Akaroa. For further information on these Panels:

      Carsten Auer - Architecture

      Carsten Auer

      Carsten has been a director of Architectus since 2008. Working collaboratively, he has developed and communicated successful strategies for quality urban design outcomes within a strong social, environmental and economic framework, for both public and institutional clients, as well as the private sector development community.

      Recent projects in Christchurch include the Bus Interchange, Tūranga, Innovation Precinct Masterplan, and East Frame residential developments.

      Carsten has provided independent design advisory services for the private sector and New Zealand tertiary institutions. He has been a regular guest critique and has been engaged in the public debate around the built environment for many years through his work, as well as forums, workshops and lectures.


      Russell Benge - Property

      Russell Benge

      Russell is a director of Davis Ogilvie and Partners Ltd, a Christchurch-based multi-discipline company formed in the 1930s to provide consultancy in surveying, civil, structural and geotechnical engineering, resource management and environmental science.

      Russell’s areas of expertise are in the surveying, resource management, land development and construction fields. He is passionate about quality development in his projects. Recently his work has involved medium- to high-density residential development within Christchurch’s “four avenues”, industrial development on brownfield contaminated sites, and mixed-density greenfield developments around the Canterbury region.


      Heather Blewett - Urban Design / Architecture

      Heather Blewett

      Heather is an experienced advocate of multidisciplinary collaboration, and values the outcomes achieved when architects, planners, urban designers, landscape architects, clients and stakeholders work together from a project’s inception. 

      Working on large-scale residential and mixed-use projects in the UK and NZ developed Heather’s taste for urban regeneration and the ability of thoughtful design to transform the experiences of communities. She enjoys the challenge and breadth of view required in masterplanning and large mixed-use projects, as well as the finer-details approach called for when designing an individual building.

      Heather brings with her an understanding and belief in placemaking and secure-by-design principles, as well as a clear understanding of economic drivers. She has led design on a host of projects in the region, from medium-density residential developments and masterplans for developments of up to 1,700 homes, through to specialised veterinary hospitals.

      Heather studied architecture and urban design at Oxford Brookes University and is a registered architect and a project architect at Context Architects. She believes peer review is a great tool to raise the bar for new development that will continue shaping Christchurch and its emerging character following the Canterbury earthquakes.

      Jacky Bowring - Landscape Architecture

      Jacky has experience in design evaluation and critique in a range of settings, including a previous term on the Christchurch Urban Design Panel, serving on several competition juries, and roles providing design advice for the Pukeahu National War Memorial and the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial. She actively researches and teaches design critique. 

      Jacky is also especially interested in how disciplines come together in the urban realm, including landscape architecture, architecture, urban design and public art.

      Tim Church - Urban Design / Landscape Architecture

      Tim ChurchIn over 20 years of professional practice, Tim has worked in both public and private sectors and extensively overseas, based out of London and Sydney. His Christchurch work has focused on the city's recovery and rebuild, particularly in central-city masterplanning, anchor projects, mixed-tenure housing regeneration, education and research facilities, and smaller transitional projects.

      He looks forward to continuing to bring his knowledge and experience to the Christchurch Urban Design Panel, from high-level urban policy advice and structure planning through to design delivery and assessment work.   

      Guy Cleverley - Architecture

      Guy Cleverley

      Guy is a registered architect with over 30 years’ experience in the industry. Guy has worked for a number of practices over his career, including Warren and Mahoney (Christchurch, 1980), Don Donnithorne Architects (Christchurch, 1981), Athfield Architects (Wellington, 1982–85), Daryl Jackson (Melbourne, 1986), Terry Farrell (London, 1987), YRM (London, 1988–89), and CCM Architects (previously Craig Craig Moller, 1990–present), where he is a director.

      Guy’s involvement in architecture has been at all levels but primarily with building design at the concept and contextual/urban levels. He has had involvement in many public building projects including university-, local-authority- and Government-funded work.

      Guy was the president of the Wellington Architecture Centre (1999–2000). He was also a member of the Wellington Waterfront Development Subcommittee and Chairperson of the Wellington Waterfront Technical Advisory Group. In 2009, Guy was Convenor for the NZIA Local Design Awards and Juror for the NZIA National Awards, as well as a member of the Victoria University Professional Advisory Group.

      William Fulton - Architecture / Landscape Architecture

      William Fulton

      William has more than 20 years' professional experience, following a double qualification in Architecture and Landscape Architecture. He is a specialist in heritage landscape design and project delivery. In 2007, William joined with Stewart Ross as a Co-Director in Stewart Ross Team Architecture Ltd, now known as Fulton Ross Team Architects. He is also a Director of Team Architects Limited, a consortium of nine architectural practices across New Zealand. William has been the Project Architect on a range of projects working within a series of consultant teams.

      Prior to the earthquakes, William worked on several key heritage projects in Christchurch. These include the Christchurch Music Centre, Huntley Boutique Hotel, Riccarton Racecourse Tea House Restoration, Rhodes Memorial Home, Star of the Sea Catholic Church, Sumner, and The Octagon Restaurant. These projects required careful treatment of their unique heritage values, as well as liaison with clients, contractors and the community.

      William continues to be involved with many heritage projects, including Te Koraha at Rangi Ruru School, Christchurch City Council-owned heritage buildings and various church projects. William was also the Heritage Architect for the New Regent Street rebuild.



      Richard Hayman - Architecture/Property

      undefinedRichard is a passionate Architect with over 25 years of professional experience.

      Over this period, in addition to his many other commissions, Richard was the architect for many of the Scenic Hotel Group projects. This has led to his current role as Property Development Manager, driving the future of the Scenic Hotel Group’s property portfolio.

      Prior to this, Richard was the leader of the Jasmax Design Team in the Christchurch Regional Office. He is a city lover and enjoys the craft of making places within our cities.   

      Richard’s design process usually starts with careful urban design analysis. A humanist at heart he is always placing the wellbeing of people front and centre in his work. He is guided by the principle of Kaitiakitanga in all design explorations he is involved with.

      Richard has served on the Christchurch City Council Urban Design Panel since 2014 and spent 5 years as chair and trustee of Te Pūtahi: Christchurch Centre for Architecture and City Making.

      John Hardwick-Smith - Architecture

      John Hardwick-SmithJohn graduated from the Wellington School of Architecture in 1992. Since then he has been involved in the design and implementation of a wide range of architectural, urban design and landscape design projects across New Zealand. As a director of Athfield Architects Ltd since 2000, he has led design and/or collaborated with colleagues from Athfield Architects and others across a number of projects including education spaces, commercial buildings, libraries, civic/arts spaces, heritage conservation projects, urban infrastructure/parks, apartments/houses, and a National Memorial in London.

      In recent years John has been involved mostly in the early design phase of projects with high interface between landscape, building and urban infrastructure, and balanced between public and private interests and initiatives.

      Di Lucas - Landscape Architecture

      Di LucasDirector of Lucas Associates, based in central Christchurch, Di has worked in landscape planning, design and management for projects of all scales around New Zealand for several decades. She works from an understanding of a site’s natural, cultural and social context, past and present. Long involved in urban design within Christchurch, Di facilitated public charrettes (also called "Inquiry By Design" workshops) to develop landscape plans for Sumner, Merivale, Edgeware and the Central City; developed native plant guides; led waterway restoration and management and provided design analyses services. She was a supreme-award-winning team member in the 2011 48-Hour Design Challenge and is a certified Resource Management Act hearings commissioner and judge for the Canterbury Heritage Awards.

      Former President of the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (NZILA) and Fellow member since 1987, Di has been winner of several premier NZILA awards, including awards for innovative ecological and community-based planning approaches in Christchurch. She was recognised as winner of the Resene Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. Di was awarded the Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2019 for her contribution to conservation. 

      Graeme McDonald - Property

      Graeme McDonaldGraeme is a Registered Valuer and property advisor. He is a director at Jones Lang LaSalle, having started with the establishment of the Christchurch office in 2010. His professional experience throughout Canterbury and Westland exceeds 30 years. 

      Graeme has extensive experience in a wide range of property types, from residential (including multiple apartment complexes) to commercial (retail, office, serviced apartment tourist accommodation) and industrial, within the Central Business District and suburbs. 

      His particular interest is in urban design evaluation feasibility relating to form, function and economics, where he has proven skills to add value to produce a quality outcome.

      Ben MacGibbon - Property

      Ben MacGibbonBen is a director at Mettle Group Limited. He has over two decades' experience in property development and project management, including commercial, retail, medium-density residential, mixed-use, master-planned urban communities, senior living, health care, and hospitality/leisure. He has worked in Sydney for 16 years and spent eight years in London prior to returning to his hometown of Christchurch in 2011. 

      Ben is driven to deliver a product that is commercially successful and satisfies the needs of the owner and the end user. He has a proven track record in managing and delivering all stages of developments, from inception through to occupancy.

      Ben is enthusiastic to see quality granular infill developments in the rebuild of Christchurch that, together with the anchor projects, create interest and value for the community and visitors.

      Rebecca Parish - Property

      Rebecca ParishAs a property developer, chartered secretary, and town planner, Rebecca is committed to collaborative and pragmatic solutions to the rebuild of Christchurch that are both sustainable, economic and contribute successfully to the vibrancy and vitality of the city. 

      Her professional history includes over fifteen years in property development for Foodstuffs SI Ltd, being involved in complex multi-million-dollar commercial, multi-use and retail developments, in often challenging urban environments throughout the South Island. With her understanding of commercial feasibility, and her experience across a broad spectrum of industrial, business, tourism, residential and retail developments, Rebecca takes a pragmatic, innovative and well-balanced approach to delivering public and private good. 

      Robin Simpson - Urban Design / Landscape Architecture

      Robin Simpson

      Robin is a qualified urban designer and awarded landscape architect, with more than 25-years practice on large-scale internationally significant sites across New Zealand and in Sydney, Australia. Robin aims to maximise the potential in all projects to contribute to liveable and resilient urban environments that are accessible and flourish economically and culturally.

      Having participated as both client and design professional, Robin is ideally placed to foster good urban environments through the Christchurch Urban Design Review Panel process. She sits on the Wellington Waterfront TAG, providing design review for Wellington City Council, and on the Nelson and Tasman local-government panels. This is supported by her wide experience in transport infrastructure projects, cycling and pedestrian networks, masterplanning of complex sites, landscape and urban design in public and private sectors, site feasibility, integrated water management and streetscape design. She has held academic positions in Australia, at University of New South Wales, in New Zealand, at Lincoln University, Christchurch, and directed the Landscape Architecture Program at Victoria University, in Wellington.

      Robin’s specialty is in multidisciplinary projects, where she fosters a collaborative approach amongst disciplines, supported by strong communication and liaison skills. Her management capability and liaison skills were showcased on Sydney’s high profile and complex Olympic Park Public Domain project.

      Melanda Slemint - Architecture

      Melanda SlemintMel graduated from the Victoria University School of Architecture over 20 years ago. She has since collaborated on a wide range of urban and architectural projects, mainly in Christchurch, Wellington and The Netherlands. Her works have included tertiary, commercial and large-scale hybrid buildings, along with residential, community, landscaping and master planning projects.

      Mel has also tutored design at Victoria University School of Architecture and judged on NZIA and University awards panels.

      Following the Canterbury earthquakes, she became a founding member of the community-led Coastal Pathway project, a public space and infrastructure intervention linking damaged coastal suburbs.

      Mel’s passion lies with good design and the ways in which it will contribute to a richly vibrant, diverse, sustainable and accessible Christchurch.

      Debbie Tikao - Landscape Architecture

      Debbie TikaoDebbie has more than 20 years’ experience in landscape architecture and design, and three years’ experience as the Environmental Portfolio Manager for Ōnuku Rūnanga. She is currently the General Manager of the Matapopore Charitable Trust. Her expertise in the design and delivery of large-scale commercial, residential and public-realm projects, and experience working at rūnanga level on a wide range of environmental issues impacting on cultural values, underpins the support and guidance she provides to the Matapopore team. 

      Through her role with Matapopore, Debbie has been involved with most of Christchurch City’s anchor projects and many other developments that will contribute to a more meaningful, healthy, welcoming and diverse urban experience for our whanau, visitors and community. Debbie brings a very considered, holistic approach to her work, which demonstrates how indigenous values and knowledge can inform built-environment outcomes.

      Jasper van der Lingen - Architecture

      Jasper van der LingenJasper has been an architect in Christchurch since the early 1990s and has been the architect on a wide range of award-winning projects. Projects include the Stranges and Glendenning Hill buildings and Stranges Lane, the first major permanent building and new laneway system completed within the inner city since the 2011 earthquakes.

      Jasper’s interest is in ensuring the rebuild of Christchurch post-quakes is the best quality possible, with a cohesive, exciting and vibrant urban environment for all, which relates to the architectural and urban past of Christchurch while also looking forward to a sustainable and innovative 21st-century future.

      Keri Whaitiri - Architecture

      Keri WhaitiriKeri’s background is predominantly architectural with involvement also in art, landscape and urban design. She has worked as both a practicing architect and design educator (University of Auckland, Unitec) and runs a design consultancy, ITI kura toi.

      In recent years, Keri has been engaged by Matapopore Charitable Trust to manage mana whenua cultural engagement in Christchurch’s central-city rebuild. In this role, she has contributed towards a number of central and local government led anchor projects. She has also acted as a Ngāi Tahu appointed Commissioner on the Christchurch City Council Joint Management Board, and has recently been appointed to the Lyttelton Design Review Panel.

      Keri’s particular strength is the integration of mana whenua values and aspirations within architectural, spatial, landscape and urban design.