SmartGrowth Strategy 2023

We’re developing a strategy that will consider how urban form, infrastructure, transport, community development and the environment need to be looked at together to achieve effective growth in the western Bay of Plenty.

SmartGrowth Strategy 2023 will make sure that as our sub-region continues to grow we will have a plan in place to manage it. Being proactive with our planning means we can reduce our impact, shape the options for where we  live, connect with our community, while ensuring that we support our natural and cultural landscape.

You can take a look at the Connected Centres programme that forms the basis of our updated SmartGrowth Strategy using the button below.

Read more

About SmartGrowth Strategy 2023

This is a comprehensive strategy that will consider how urban form, tāngata whenua values and aspirations, infrastructure, transport, community development and the environment need to be looked at together to achieve effective growth.

It is an initiative between central and local government and tāngata whenua as part of the SmartGrowth partnership and will be woven into the Long-Term Plan 2024-27 processes and other key documents in the western Bay of Plenty sub-region.

How we’ll use it

SmartGrowth Strategy 2023 will become the new SmartGrowth Strategy and it will incorporate the requirements for a Future Development Strategy under the National Policy Statement on Urban Development.

It will set the vision and objectives for our sub-region’s future development. It will be utilised by all SmartGrowth partners – Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Tauranga City Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, tāngata whenua and central government – to ensure we take a unified approach to growth.

Why we need a SmartGrowth Strategy

To make sure our growth happens in a positive and effective way, we need to proactively plan for and manage it. SmartGrowth already has a Strategy, but this was developed almost 10 years ago and a lot of work has happened since then, so we want to incorporate this into one strategic document for the sub-region which is SmartGrowth Strategy 2023.

We’re working on a scenario of 400,000 people living in our sub-region over the next 50 plus years. With that many more people needing homes, moving around our sub-region, and wanting to access community facilities, it’s essential we start planning now to manage the impact this has on our housing, infrastructure, environment and climate.

Planning needs to be done in a way that incorporates and supports tāngata whenua values and aspirations, delivers on the Government’s urban growth expectations, and builds on our existing sub-regional vision and outcomes as informed by the community. We need to incorporate the work undertaken for the Urban Form and Transport Initiative (UFTI) as well as new information.

How it’s being developed

A draft Joint Spatial Plan has already been created that incorporates the Urban Form and Transport Initiative (UFTI) Connected Centres programme adopted by SmartGrowth in 2020. UFTI focused on creating a ‘blue print’ for land use and transport that enable people to continue living in and moving around the sub-region in a desirable and sustainable way.

We are taking a phased approach to our engagement and consultation,  making sure we get the right input at the right time.

We’re starting with stakeholders who are engaged in planning and delivery of community development, infrastructure planning, growth and housing. This includes groups and organisations who are identified as part of the Future Development Strategy engagement requirements.

A final draft version of the strategy will be shared with the public for consultation from August – October 2023. Our partner councils will also be gathering thoughts on our region’s growth through their Long-Term Plan engagement, and this will be fed into SmartGrowth Strategy 2023.

This strategy isn’t being developed in isolation – the Combined Tāngata Whenua Forum is working on a Tāngata Whenua Spatial Plan to incorporate tāngata whenua values, aspirations, and priorities. Direction from the Tāngata Whenua spatial plan will feed into the SmartGrowth Strategy. By weaving these together, we can be confident there is a robust strategy in place with input from stakeholders and the community that sets our direction for the next 30 plus years.


April 2022 – June 2023
Early engagement with key stakeholders
March 2023 – June 2023
SmartGrowth Strategy Drafting
August 2023 – October 2023
Late 2023 - Early 2024
           Finalise the Strategy