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Porirua technical detail

Porirua quarter-hour paradise: technical detail

Below is the nuts and bolts of how even the basic quarter-hour paradise recipe applied to a place can immediately help that place work better for everyone, including the environment.  

We’ve put a little bit of crystal-ball colour around the base technical specs, to indicate what kind of thing they make possible, and to spark the local conversations.  

There’s more detail behind this again so if you’re a super-nerd (like us), feel free to drop us a line. 

 And of course, there’s no local flavour or community nuance yet, so once you’ve had a read and – especially if you’re local – you’re full of ideas for how to do this better, make sure you join some of the conversation online! 


Building performance

Buildings base-isolated for owner and communal resilience 

Lighter construction for seismic resilience 

  • Buildings are designed to need minimal heating and cooling. 
  • The buildings are well orientated to make the most of the sun’s free energy and light while also providing shading in the summer with overhangs/shades on windows on north and western faces that help prevent overheating. 
  • The buildings have well-insulated walls, and high spec airtight windows with minimal thermal bridging (less condensation and heat loss to outdoors). 
  • Energy efficient fixtures are used throughout (e.g. LED lighting)
  • Ventilation systems have heat recovery 
  • Heat pumps with low GWP refrigerants are used for any space heating andor hot water needs. 
  • ‘Smart’ electricity meters are installed and appliances can be programmed to run when electricity prices (and carbon emissions) are low e.g. overnight.
  • Covered garden / conservatory spaces for growing food and neighbourhood connection 
  • Roof and deck gardens on alternate floors of all buildings
  • Conservatory and roof garden on buildings on east side of station
  • Ground-level garden under the buildings on the former park and ride, and green  throughout Lyttelton Avenue 
  • All buildings meet future operational carbon and embodied carbon Building Code requirements proposed under MBIE’s Building for Climate Change programme: lower-carbon footprint construction and materials (e.g.timber floors, hybrid timber/steel frame, terracotta façade cladding)
  • Natural gas is a thing of the past. All space heating and hot water is electrified using heat-pumps, electric elements, or solar
  • All cooking is electric. Induction stovetops are the norm: compared with 2022 there is much less wasted energy and fewer pollutants (indoor air quality is better)
  • Non-toxic materials are used throughout, such as interior finishes (paints etc) with low VOC / formaldehyde content, and low-PVC plumbing and cabling for utilities
  • Buildings have good access to natural light and views to the outdoors – particularly in living and working spaces
  • Windows are airtight but all homes include opening windows
  • Multi-core residential buildings – more units have frontages at least two sides, and natural ventilation is easier

Development and destination performance

  • Over 3,500 more people are now living in this neighbourhood (10-15min walk or wheel of the railway station) than there were in 2022 
  • Streets are safe, visible, enjoyable places to be
  • Public and community gatherings of different kinds are happening every day in the station complex
  • Old, young, richer and poorer, disabled and able people now use the street and station equally freely
  •  There is now a strong night economy in central Porirua – liveliness  and vibrancy day and night
  • People feel connected to the stream and the nature of Porirua while in the street 
  • Lyttelton Avenue is fresher, feels more natural, and is more pleasant to be on
  • Families and households of all ages and sizes live here, and people stay living locally as their needs change 
  • People living here know their neighbours and feel socially connected 
  • The former New World carpark has become homes, with shops, galleries, and places to eat on the street frontage 
  • On top of the station building is a full Transit Oriented Development (TOD), with apartments on top of two floors of community space, rehearsal spaces and offices, with station services and community services including public art displays on the ground floor  
  • On the former park-and-ride are 8-storey residential buildings oriented to the sun, with carshare and bikeshare parking at ground level, with universal accessibility and prioritised people-access to the buildings   
  • Lyttelton Avenue: lots of eyes on the street day and night from residential overlooking and a night economy 
  • A community-run bike cafe is integrated with public bikeshare  in a Bike Hub near the station
  •  Plentiful seating and public space on both sides of Lyttelton 
  • Boardwalk and pausing points alongside the stream 
  • Lots of things to do at different times of day in the neighbourhood
  • Universally accessible streetscape 
  • There is much more green in the street (large trees and green roofs, walls and buffer strips) 
  • Threshold treatments including raised platform and PARIRUA sign show people “it’s special here”
  • In the residential parts of the buildings, homes come in a wide variety of sizes, from 1- to  5- and 6-bedroom 
  • Most homes and all ground-floor uses are universally accessible 
  • Design of common areas and shared facilities within the residential buildings (such as roof gardens and allotments, lounges and games rooms, deck gardens, shared bike and scooter parking, and play areas) encourages “bumping into”, and forming relationships with other residents

Transport performance

  • It’s pleasant and easy for people of all ages to get to and from the station, by foot, bike, scooter, or wheelchair anytime of day or night
  • Daytime mode share of people’s journeys to and from the station: 
    • on feet, bikes, skateboards, mobility scooters, regular scooters was 10% and is now 45% 
    • By bus was 15% and is now 30% 
    • private car was 70% and is now 25% 
  • Now about 3,500 people living within 15 minutes’ walk, scoot or regular bike ride of the city centre. 7,000 live within 15 minutes’ e-bike or e-scooter ride 
  • The average transport carbon footprint of locals within the 15 minutes’ walk radius is under half what it was in 2022  
  • 70% residents in this picture don’t bother owning their own car
  • Most car use is taxis, rideshare or carshare 
  • 10 trains / hour arrive and leave Porirua station
  • People-only bridge to Eastern Porirua with touchdowns on the railway platform and Lyttelton Avenue 

Lyttelton Avenue from Walton Leigh:

  • This stretch of the road prioritises public transport and open-air access to the rail station: buses and community transport services have a clear run. It has:
  • No access for general traffic, prioritising everything else (including Mobility Card holders and permitted Community Transport services)
  • Dedicated, protected two-way biking and micromobility lane (5m)
  • Dedicated bus lanes (3.2m)
  • Wide footpaths (3m minimum) with plenty of space to pause and rest, water fountains and shade
  • Residential homes overlooking streets, bus stops and waiting areas 
  • Raised road platform and distinct coloured surface prioritise people and calm traffic
  • New pedestrian crossing prioritises people access across Lyttelton Ave
  • Universally accessible rail station and shops, eateries and community space 
  • Universally accessible buildings at street level


  • Community-run bikeshare, scooter-share and repair hub / bike cafe on Lyttelton at the south end of Station Road
  • Residents’ carshare ad bikeshare in the  ground-level of the residential buildings on the east side of the station

Water and ecological performance

  • Porirua Stream, Kenepuru Stream and Te Awarua-o-Porirua are cleaner and healthier (less road runoff, less sewerage)
  • There’s much less nuisance flooding from rain, and Porirua Stream doesn’t flood as hard or as often thanks to a “soggy city” approach
  • Upgraded wastewater pipe network 
  • Roof gardens and stormwater retention tanks mean buildings are hydrologically neutral 
  • Smart sewage retention tanks smooth the peaks of sewage traffic in main pipes
  • Roadside rain garden captures and filters Lyttelton Ave runoff
  • Terraced raingarden park space (stepping down between boardwalk and stream) treats the water from the stormwater pipe underneath Walton Leigh/Lyttelton junction
  • In summer this park is irrigated by buried tanks that capture some of the treated stormwater
  • Native birds, insects and lizards are common sights in the city centre, encouraged to and from Mana and Kāpiti Islands, nearby parks, and backyards
  • Native plant cover in this part of the city centre is increased 
  • The harbour is honoured in the centre of the city: the original name of area is known and front of mind, and people feel connected to all the awa 
  • Developments on the former Park and RIde are interspersed with high-performance rain gardens with native plantings including major trees
  • Green roofs reduce heating and runoff, increase urban biodiversity 
  •  Large trees in green buffers absorb more water and filter it 
  • Large native trees and native plantings at ground level, on green roofs, green walls, and up the supports of the people bridge provide canopy cover and habitat, more connection to and from Bothamley Park, the stream corridor, harbour and Rangituhi