Category Archives: Environment

Hamilton’s town belt 1864 drawing

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The 1864 Hamilton West town plan was surveyed by W.Blackburn and drawn by E. Bellairs. The names of Gerhard Mueller as chief surveyor, Auckland, and S.Percy Smith as Surveyor General are also on this drawing. One point to note about this drawing is that it refers to Ngaruawahia, not Newcastle. Also, other than directions to Māori town names, only Wai Tawhiriwhiri links this map to the per 1860s invasion/confiscation and there is no reference to Redoubts or Te Rapa Pa and Kirikiriroa Pa. The link to the University of Waikato Library map 013 dates this drawing to 1895.

The Town of Hamilton East drawing indicates it was surveyed by W.Blackburn, T.G.Sandes, [I’m thinking it should also include William Australia Graham] and others, and names the Chief Surveyor, Auckland as J.Mackenzie, dated Sep 1904. The bottom left corner names J.Simms and the bottom right shows J.W.A. Marchant as Surveyor General. This drawing shows complete removal of any relationship to the pre 1860s invasion/confiscation history. The University of Waikato Library dates this drawing to 1924. For more personal history on Hamilton’s early surveyors, see the following link. – The pioneer land surveyors of NZ part IV biographical notes

The focus of this post is on the thinking supporting having a Town Belt, which we also see in Wellington 1840, Dunedin 1846, and William Light’s 1838 plan for Adelaide. In England this approach was known as Country Zones and Breathing Places, based on JC Loudon’s 1829 plan for London, which the Landscape Architects Association explains in this link

Green belts: the history and landscape architecture of a key planning idea’ Some key points from JC Loudon’s 1829 ‘green belt’ plan

*‘our plan is very simple; that of surrounding London, as it already exists, with a zone of open country, at the distance of say one mile [1.6 km], or one mile and a half [2.4 km], from what may be considered the centre’
* ‘the metropolis may be extended in alternate mile zones of buildings, with half mile [0.8 km] zones of country or gardens, till one of the zones touched the sea… [so that] there could never be an inhabitant who would be farther than half a mile [0.8 km] from an open airy situation’
* ‘we have drawn the boundary lines as perfect circles; but in the execution of the project this is by no means necessary, nor even desirable’
* ‘supposing a town to be founded on this principle, a capital for an Australian union for example; then we should propose to place all the government public buildings round the central circle’
* ‘in the first and succeeding zones of country we would place the… churches, burial grounds, theatres, universities, parochial institutions, workhouse gardens, botanical and zoological gardens, public picture and statue galleries, national museums, public conservatories and tea-gardens…’
*‘in the country zones we should permit individuals, on proper conditions of rent and regulations, to establish all manner of rural coffee-houses, and every description of harmless amusement; and the space not occupied by these establishments, and by the public buildings before mentioned, we would lay out as park and pleasure-ground scenery, and introduce in it all the plants, trees, and shrubs which would grow in the open air, with innumerable seats, covered and uncovered, in the sun and in the shade’
* ‘we would rather see, in every country, innumerable small towns and villages, than a few overgrown capitals’

We can see that having a Town Belt was standard town planning for invasion/confiscation forces in these two plans. 1865 Whatawhata & Newcastle & 1865 Alexandra – Pirongia


But this town belt idea was not a rule; it was more the desire to protect town breathing spaces, which became New Zealand law under “The Plan of Towns Regulation Act, 1875” which came into force on 1st January, 1876.

1. Streets of not less than 99 feet [30m] from building line to building line.
2. Reservations for recreation grounds; these to be not less than one-tenth of the area of the town; the separate sizes of the reserves to be not less than 12½ square chains [0.5 hectare].
3. Cemeteries were prohibited in towns.
4. One acre in every ten was to be reserved as a town endowment.
5. In addition to the recreation grounds reserves were to be provided for rubbish disposal, gravel pits, quarries etc.
6. Plans of towns showing reserves etc. were to be lodged and to obtain Governor’s approval before being offered for sale.
7. Streets, as nearly as a due regard to the natural features of the country would permit, were to be laid off in straight lines and at right angles to each other.
This Act was limited in its application to future towns to be laid on Crown Lands. It had no application to existing towns where the evils of original mistakes had grown in intensity.


Category: Environment, Planning

Grey St too be 75% safer

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Over the past 7 years no less than seven people have died travelling to/from/within the Hamilton CBD.
Grey St, Hamilton East has recorded ZERO fatalities.

Better than that, the people from the Hamilton East Community Trust teamed up with HCC, NZTA and WRC to be one of six case studies around Australia and New Zealand being assessed by a team of Austroads traffic safety experts.
The outcome of the team work-shop was that safety improvements were identified that could easily halve the risk of serious injury to people visiting and moving through central Grey St.

Key safety improvements included treatments that helped to manage vehicle speeds, such as raised platforms, gateway treatments, road narrowing, textured surfacing and additional measures.

In fact the Hamilton East team clearly are looking for transformational change – they have a tick for every box.

The ticking of every box is the right thing to do; this allows different treatments to act together to give the greatest overall benefit.
Here are concept drawings showing how different treatments could give a reduction in the risk of fatality or serious injury of up to 75% for many road users.

Lastly page 14 of the Technical Report tells us we can do better than 75% safer:
“Typically this requires speeds below 30 km/h to avoid death if a collision occurs, or even lower speeds (around 20 km/h) to avoid serious injury. For a speed choice of 30 km/h instead of 50 km/h, the estimated reduction in fatal crash risk is 95%”

But this would be a political decision as it was in Helsinki in the 1990s. “The optimal speed limit on an urban street is the lowest limit the political decision makers can accept”

Link to report – Safe System infrastructure on mixed use arterials