A brief history of town planning

Town planning originated in the United Kingdom during the industrial revolution. The rapid growth of the urban population resulted in overcrowding and water contamination which caused serious public health issues. In response, local authorities took responsibility for providing clean water and the removal of sewerage and refuse. Acts of Parliament were passed to regulate for these services.

Town planning soon expanded to include amenity matters. Controls were introduced to minimise the detrimental effects that resulted from the adjacent location of incompatible activities (e.g. noisy or smelly activities in residential areas). It was soon recognised that rural land also needed to be managed to prevent the continued loss of productive rural land and the escalating cost of providing infrastructure to the suburbs.

In New Zealand, the Town and Country Planning Acts 1953 and 1977 were the primary town planning legislation. In the late 1980’s New Zealand undertook large scale resource management law reform. The resulting Resource Management Act integrated the management of town and country planning, freshwater, air, and other resources. 433

Today, the Resource Management Act and the Building Act are the key pieces of legislation which regulate the use of land (as well as the coastal marine area).

Last updated at 9:14AM on February 25, 2015