Urban Landscape


Here's some of the ways we've helped government, iwi and the private sector make better planning and environmental decisions
that balance the needs of land, water and people.

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The guide provides advice and technical information relevant to New Zealand and in particular, the Whāngārei context for the implementation of living roof systems.

Despite a long history of sod roof use, the modern building industry has only recently seen a resurgence of living roof technology and this rediscovery offers a myriad of exciting benefits for people, our built form and nature.

Talk of living roofs, particularly on commercial buildings, in New Zealand is however in its infancy and is often met with scepticism in terms of its potential as a realistic building option with long term contributions to urban habitat, stormwater and sustainable building outcomes.

This guide provides an opportunity to champion this sustainable technology to home-owners, developers and the broader design fraternity as a viable option for the New Zealand environment.


4Sight provided landscape architecture and living roof expertise alongside botanical, ecological and urban design skills in developing New Zealand’s first comprehensive living roof guide.

Our role included researching, writing, designing and illustrating the Guide as well as undertaking the graphic design and desktop publishing for the document.

Our contribution did not stop at the publishing of the guide – we are working with Whāngārei District Council to communicate the message through public workshops and online content and forums.



Many of the barriers to greater use of this roofing approach in New Zealand are based around lack of locally applicable information, research and shared experiences. This guide is a first step in sharing the growing knowledge base and range of case studies within New Zealand that are now assisting to break down these barriers and providing exciting sustainable building opportunities.

Whangarei Living Roof Guide

4Sight has developed the first comprehensive living roof guide in New Zealand, providing exciting sustainable building opportunities.

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Obtained resource consents for residential redevelopment in a complex coastal environment


The 4Sight team were approached to provide planning, landscape and engineering advice for the redevelopment of a family holiday property on Motuarohia Island. We provided a range of project services including:

  • Initial resource management scoping and feasibility advice;

  • Attended pre-application meeting;

  • Advised on consultation strategy with iwi, neighbours and Department of Conservation;

  • Collaborated with wider consultant team (architects, coastal engineers);

  • Prepared landscape and visual assessment;

  • Prepared engineering services assessment;

  • Prepared joint coastal permit and land use consent application;

  • Worked through iwi consultation and further information requests during processing; and

  • Secured set of workable, fair consent conditions for the client for both the coastal permit and resource consent application.


The property was subject to several complex issues – including being an Outstanding Natural Landscape in a coastal environment with a significant local iwi interest, next to a highly popular Department of Conservation Reserve.

Our approach was to do our homework at the front end of the project, making sure that we had all the right consultants on board preparing the inputs necessary to support a successful application. We also made sure we were talking to all the key stakeholders early in the process – securing early support from both councils and the Department of Conservation was crucial.

Our project philosophy was ‘thorough preparation equals no surprises for the client’!


4Sight is proud of the result obtained for the client – both the coastal permit and land use consent were granted on a non-notified basis close to anticipated timeframes, despite the high profile nature of Motuarohia Island and the potential for public interest. The final conditions were fair and reasonable and the 10 year consent timeframe achieved for the land use consent gave the applicant flexibility with the staging and financing of the project. We also achieved the maximum coastal permit timeframe of 35 years for the new boat ramp.

Residential Development on Motuarohia Island

Obtaining resource consents for a residential redevelopment in a complex coastal environment.



Designing a rooftop native forest and sculpture park

The Approach

As the last design of famous architect Hundertwasser to be built, the Hundertwasser Arts Centre project is being overseen by the Hundertwasser Foundation in Vienna and required constant collaboration in order to best honour Hundertwasser’s legacy.

4Sight’s team of living roof experts worked with a project team of architects, engineers and specialists to design the Hundertwasser Arts Centre Living Roof. This collaborative approach ensures a design outcome that not only meets the client’s needs but will also stand the test of time.


The Project

4Sight was engaged by Whangarei Art Museum Trust to create a comprehensive design package that included:
•    Living roof concept design
•    Surrounding site landscape concept design
•    Plant palette and schedule
•    Cross sections
•    Perspective renderings
•    Detailed design drawings
•    Landscape lighting plan
•    Site analysis


The Outcome

Following a thorough and dynamic design process, 4Sight delivered an extensive design package ready for tendering that addressed every aspect of the Hundertwasser Living Roof.

Using client feedback and specialist knowledge to design a living roof that satisfied the needs of all stakeholders. 4Sight’s expertise and collaboration throughout the project lead to an outcome that meets the specific requirements of the Hundertwasser Foundation without compromising the integrity of the living roof.

4Sight Consulting have been and are currently involved in the Hundertwasser Art Centre project in Whangarei. The scope of their work has been in relation to design and specification of the Green roof, in collaboration with the wider project team/design and Hundertwasser Foundation, which is a very large and complex element of the build. In many cases, the unique challenges and scale included previously unchartered territory which has required “out of the box thinking”.
4Sight, in particular, Zoe Avery and Renee Davies attended our call for help and have given generously much of their time, expertise and focus to our project. It is very evident they are passionate about Green Roofs and have a strong industry/green roof community network to leverage and call on.
This project is far from an orthodox design and construct and is more of an art piece on a grand scale, with stakeholders on both sides of the globe. The result of this is a very demanding project. 4Sight have gone above and beyond the call of their scope.

— Ben Tomason, Director, Griffiths and Associates Ltd



Hundertwasser Arts Centre Living Roof

4Sight was engaged by Whangarei Art Museum Trust to create a comprehensive design package for the Hundertwasser Arts Centre.



4Sight Consulting, in collaboration with Urban Solutions, Resilio Studio and Land Development and Exploration Ltd, were commissioned by Gisborne District Council to carry out an extensive feasibility study of a 4.5km shared pathway along the Taruheru River in Gisborne. The shared path is to allow for a variety of users including walkers, cyclists, prams, wheelchairs, mobility scooters and riders of wheeled recreational devices, being at least 3m wide. It is expected that the pathway will consist of a mixture of concrete and boardwalk. The Taruheru River Path utilises Councils owned Esplanade Reserve, Recreation Reserve land and in some sections is a boardwalk within river mudflats. There are also sections that will require land purchase and/or an easement. 

4Sight provided planning, ecological, landscape assessment and graphic design services to undertake the Taruheru River Path Feasibility Study for Gisborne District Council. The document proposes a new shared path to be built alongside the Taruheru River in Gisborne, capturing key views of the river while traversing through the riparian landscape.


The Taruheru River Path feasibility study was a success, being presented on time and budget to Gisborne District Council. As a result of the feasibility study providing clear concept designs, the first stage of the Taruheru River Path is currently seeking consent.


The highly collaborative approach ensured that this project created a comprehensive document to best inform the decision making process.

Local GIS systems were used early in the investigation for invaluable information such as topography, aerial imagery, transportation networks, flood data and property boundaries. Overlaying several layers of this data onto aerial photographs provided clear guidance from the beginning to inform the landscape character design-led process.

The initial site visits with the project team included undertaking basic landscape character assessments and planning assessments to clearly define the projects objectives, constraints, opportunities and design considerations.

The [Taruheru Cycle and Walkway] study was completed on time, on budget and to a high standard, and we were kept up to date throughout the process. The final report was presented in a way that was easy to interpret and visually appealing with the final solution being well thought out.
— Kylie Dowding, Project Manager at Gisborne District Council

Taruheru River Path Feasibility Study

Commissioned by Gisborne District Council to carry out an extensive feasibility study of a 4.5km shared pathway along the Taruheru River in Gisborne.

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