Urbanism and service design.



Urbanism and service design.

our design capabilities help you make better places to live. Fast.

Communicate your strategy with visuals and make it easy to understand.

Learn from your customers and turn assumptions into facts.

Test ideas with prototypes and adapt your strategy with the feedback.

Disovery - understand your city or destination


We help you gain insights on how your study area or destination works. To do this we use a simple assessment model. We can also help you understand how customers experience your study area.

design Workshops and Interviews

We work with you to determine an appropriate methodology for your circumstances, and tailor a variety of methods to articulate challenges and opportunities for your urban environments and destinations.

Place assessment model

Spatial assessment methods like mapping and diagrams illustrate insights from your city or destination's public life, buildings, open space network, and creative and cultural expression.

Customer experience

User-experience (UX) methods provide you with insights and empathy for user behaviour and their drivers.

Design - Frameworks for Urbanism and destination Development

Spatial Strategies

Your development strategy needs to be communicated, and we help you blend many diverse inputs and ideas into spatial strategies and initiatives with a clear structure.

co-creation and collaboration

The process to develop a framework is co-created with you to ensure it meets your circumstances and delivers stakeholder buy-in. Our place - district - city approach scales across different contexts such as waterfronts, city centres, university campuses, tourism facilities, neighbourhoods, and towns.

Seasonal public life strategies

Your destination's or city's spaces change over the year so your activation strategy must respond to these patterns. We help you create a strategy which fuses everyday activity with weekly, monthly, and quarterly anchors, and yearly special events.

Placemaking Frameworks

Sometimes cities need a light touch approach with a focus on action, community building, and partnerships. We help you define priority places, understand how places are currently operating, and create a shared direction to get you started.

visualisation - communicate your PROJECT

Stakeholders are a varied group of individuals and different communication methods are required to make an idea resonate with the diversity of how people react to information. So, you need a range of collateral to support and communicate descriptions of your strategies, concepts, initiatives, or development plans.


A simple diagram can be a powerful tool to communicate your ideas. Diagrams can be animated for online communication.

concept Visualisation

More detailed visualisations using 3D models and/or photoshop compositions can gain buy-in faster than a multi-page report. We also produce visuals as provocations to stretch stakeholders ideas and concepts.


Make it easier for stakeholders to understand your project by bringing concepts to life. Greater understanding leads to better communication, more useful feedback, and stronger buy-in which results in better city-making.

expanding the solution space

Many innovations for cities have already been invented elsewhere, however, not all stakeholders are aware of the potential range of solutions. Co-creation of a collection of exemplars or a mood board (physical or digital) expands the potential range of solutions.

Additionally, project teams and stakeholders can share their diverse knowledge and experiences and rapidly co-create a collection of potential solutions. Participation in expanding the solution space increases buy-in and builds trust.

Implementation - Prototypes and testing


Following the startup method you will be primed to rapidly take action. However, team capacity or capabilities can be a barrier to effective action. Where needed we can collaborate with your team to design and/or implement prototypes for you.

Startup methods

Begin the learning cycle as quickly as possible with users and gain valuable real-world feedback.




Here's a sample of our research, strategy, visuals, and prototyping:

Palmerston North Streetscapes Plan

with Isthmus, McIndoe Urban, CCM architects

PNCC required a concept plan and costed streetscape designs and a transport hub to take their City Centre Framework a step towards construction.

As part of the project team tasked with taking Palmerston North’s strategic objectives to concept street designs, we were responsible for city life and public space movement studies, participation in workshops, and engagement and ensuring that the streetscape concepts would facilitate public life. We coordinated a prototype plan for the concept designs scheduled for implementation from mid-2016.

UCOL Campus Development Plan

with McIndoe Urban

Palmerston North City Council is continuing its programme to engage large organisations in the City through joint urban design projects. UCOL is an urban campus based in the city centre.

The project created a series of outputs which will future-proof the next iterations of campus development as well as providing tangible projects for the city to further integrate the Campus into the central city, and with other public facilities in the area. 


Napier City Vision Project

A significant integrated project for Napier City Council to create a series of urban design frameworks for the City. An innovative start-up approach is being taking with placemaking experiments running throughout the year. The strategies and frameworks were based on comprehensive urban design analysis, public life studies, and stakeholder engagement.

Major components were:

  • City centre Framework
  • Ahuriri Framework
  • Waterfront Framework

Napier City Centre Framework

The city centre framework builds on Napier's collection of Art Deco buildings and compact structure and cultural destinations to create a seamless experience with the Marine Parade waterfront and enliven public spaces.

Maraenui Neighbourhood renewal

with Byrne Urban Design

Napier City Council is part of a consortium developing a concept plan for the Maraenui neighbourhood which has a large proportion of state housing, with approx. 100 houses being demolished in 2015. An stakeholder workshop was facilitated with partners such as iwi, Housing NZ, Police, and Council to produce an outline framework of assets and opportunities for the neighbourhood which will lead into development of the Concept Plan.

Napier City Vision Project - Project area outlines

A series of provocations which illustrate potential moves for the city centre, waterfront, and Ahuriri.

Parklet and Flex Space Design Guide and Service Development

A five-day sprint to develop and prototype a policy project.

We facilitated a customer focussed innovation project for Palmerston North City Council to create outputs which are tailored for external customers rather than to internal Council customers. The project targeted how businesses and residents might use ‘flex space’ in the city, which includes parklets. The project included real world prototyping and construction of an exemplar parklet in the following months.

Napier Tourism Facilities Audit

Napier City Council tourism facilities managers wanted to improve how their facilities work as places. Start-up plans were co-designed with staff after collaborative place assessments and identification of opportunities.

  • I-site & Par2
  • National Aquarium
  • Municipal Theatre
  • Kennedy Park Resort

Napier Waterfront Framework

Napier's waterfront consists of a number of components - Marine Parade, the Port, Ahuriri Beach, the Harbour, and Pandora Estuary - the framework created a coordinated development approach.

Napier - Ahuriri Framework

Ahuriri framework integrates four disparate sub-districts while managing the interaction with the Port Access Route which is crucial for Napier's economic development.

Nambour Activation Plan

with Place Focus

Nambour is an inland village in the Sunshine Coast which has adopted a placemaking approach.

Place Focus required a quick turn around for overview visuals for the Nambour Activation Plan. We provided a document structure, context and overview visuals, and place plans for five sites site in the town centre. The visuals were used for community engagement purposes and helped lead to the Council adoption of the plan in late 2015.

Read our blog to learn more