Theory poorly practised: the garden suburb in New Zealand

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This article explores the limited development of the garden suburb in New Zealand. It attempts to move from the more generalized discussion of the garden suburb in New Zealand, to examine in detail the three examples that might be regarded as attempting to put the concept into practice, that is The Spur, Durie Hill, and Orakei. Using three conditions which, from overseas development, appeared to be important conditions for successful establishment of a garden suburb, the development of each of these examples is analysed. What emerges from the analysis is evidence that the concept was unsuccessful in moving from the theoretical to the practical. This failure can be attributed to a number of factors including the small size of the country, the lack of committed, well-resourced developers and the nature of the sites chosen. Moreover, New Zealand only rarely developed the degraded urban conditions that made the garden suburb seem an attractive alternative. Ultimately, the concept probably had more success as an advertising ploy for developers than in establishing viable garden suburbs that justified the name.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Planning Programme, School of People, Environment and Planning Massey University Private Bag 11 222 Palmerston North New Zealand ), Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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