Being many shapes and sizes over the years, we’ve evolved into a small, responsive multi-disciplinary Urban Design core including Planning, Architecture, Landscape and Graphics. This core is surrounded by semi-independent specialist units (Planning, Architecture, Landscape, Engineering and Ecology) to provide a complete, integrated, design and development service.
Multi-disciplinary means that no single profession takes precedence in the design and development process. It is truly collaborative, in no sense more than with the relationships we forge with end user communities and territorial authorities to help determine the success of every project.
Underpinned by extremely strong environmental, cultural and social values, we shape the delivery of resilient and sustainable communities. Being design-focused, we provide innovative, inspirational and high quality project leadership that protects value for both client and community.
Due to our flexible structure we operate successfully on projects ranging from a single residential house through to national-scale development and land-use/community change. From strategy through to design and delivery, we provide a complete professional development and design service.
What we offer depends on who you are and what you need. Services range from advocacy for small community and non-profit organisations through to development and guideline planning for territorial authorities. In between are the full range of services required to get things built on the ground: Plan Changes, Resource and Building Consents, land-use planning, masterplanning, regeneration planning and design, infrastructure planning and design, architecture, landscape, ecological and social audits… what do you need?
CGS was launched in 1990 by founding partner James Lunday as a specialist urban design consultancy. Over the following 26 years we have evolved into an integrated planning and design consultancy with a broad range of skills covering all aspects of development from strategic plans and development feasibilities through to masterplans, architecture and landscape design.
Very large-scale developments take years to progress through to delivery. Our projects are no exception and our visions have ensured robust and enduring outcomes. In 1995 we designed and secured the first Private Plan Change under the RMA with Pegasus Bay in Canterbury; in 2005 Albany City Centre got its Plan Change; these and many others are only now beginning to be built and the potential of the original vision unfold.
Our skills have been instrumental in the success of projects across a wide spectrum – from small community-led projects through to regional-scale infrastructure schemes throughout New Zealand and the world. While for some of these we might not remain to execute delivery ourselves, our fingerprints can be found in many of this country’s leading development projects.
Today our core team is lead by long-term director Tim King and Paul Hendry (ex EECA and NZ Treasury). While maintaining ‘business as usual’, our particular short-term focus at present is concentrated on the systemics of affordable and community housing provision. In this we are supported by an extensive network of specialists that provide critical skills as and when needed in order to provide solutions through to delivery. This framework allows us to be highly agile and provide a comprehensive service without the overhead costs of our much larger competitors.
Our values are unashamedly for the public and environmental good. That is a non-negotiable position.
Development is just change in the way and where we function in the world. It is not intrinsically bad in an environmental or social sense. On the contrary; we see development as a tool with which we can strengthen and protect the environment and our communities. Whether it is good or bad is a function of ‘how’ it is done, of how it responds to social and environmental imperatives.
Our approach is even simpler than our philosophy. Having come from and traveled and lived in many different places around the world, we’ve developed a sizeable repertoire of what it takes to create a better living environment. This is a huge kitbag of proportions, configurations, details, relationships, materials, uses… We operate on the assumption that we’re nothing special; that we think just like everybody else. We focus on the human – if we like it, so will they. So we design what we think is the best possible place for us, as though we’ll have to live there for the rest of our lives.
Every situation is unique, and we’d like to think we can hide all our science and professional skill behind a façade of poetry and art and the sheer joy at being alive to create environments that nurture and inspire everyone in the community to live the best lives they are able.
Creating great places and spaces is pivotal to achieving a consensus of political, community and other stakeholder support. Engaging with people early and taking them on the development journey also shapes the brief that informs feasibility modelling, the design, and ultimately flows through to sales to deliver a project that connects with the widest range of stakeholders possible.
The best projects are delivered by bringing together the best creative and expert resources within a structured environment. Engaging with the right team and keeping them well informed helps focus development options and reduce risks early in the process. Our wide network of trusted experts work seamlessly with our in-house team to deliver outcomes that can withstand the highest scrutiny.
A targeted “measure twice cut once” approach ensures we don’t put our clients through time-consuming and costly options development. We engage with the regulatory process early to promote benefits and positive change.
In the end we aim to create legacies that clients and communities can be proud of.