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Kamo Place Race - Town planning made lean and agile

Image of strands of netting.

Who: Whangarei District Council's District Planning Team
What: A regulatory Town Plan for Kamo in Northland, New Zealand
Why: The council was required under statute to review each provision of its District Plan before the plan’s 10th anniversary
When: 2014


The data

Data: WDC Data 
Source: Whangarei District Council
Formats: Geospatial
Licence: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Data: WDC GIS 
Source: Whangarei District Council
Formats: Geospatial
Licence: Whangarei District Council

When the Whangarei District Council’s District Planning Team started thinking about a new Town Plan for Kamo, New Zealand, they wanted to make it meaningful to the people most affected – the people who live there.

The new regulatory Town Plan was developed in only five days using lean and agile methodologies, following six weeks of awareness-raising activities.

The community was invited, through Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and a series of public installations and events, to talk about the problems they wanted solved and ways to go about solving them.

Open data such as demographic statistics, constraint maps, and resource stock-takes were distributed to the community to enable crowd-sourced analysis.

'We saw an opportunity to rekindle the sense of community that once existed when volunteerism was widespread.'

The open data enabled the council to rapidly access the relevant datasets, produce an analysis or visualisation, and publish this for public consumption. This process allowed the open data to form part of, and influence, the conversations as they happened. Previously all data analysis was carried out by specialist council staff as they were the only ones who could access the data.

The impacts of open data in this process provided a higher level of transparency, creating greater levels of public trust, and increased opportunities for engagement. Identifying which forms of media the public responded to the most was an added benefit.

Substantial time savings were achieved as this agile method replaced the traditional council approach of up to two years, including six months of appeals. It was the first time an approach of this kind had been used by a New Zealand local council.


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This case study was last updated in November 2015.

Photo credit: Tanakawho