Palmerston North City Square


Palmerston North City Council staff directed this project and required that the process be transparent, inclusive and provided a positive outcome for all stakeholders in the City. The project involved extensive discussion and debate and was eventually brought to life through the vision of the people of Palmerston North.


The Palmerston North’s Square, the largest in New Zealand, had become a problem for the city. It was unsafe at night, lacked legibility and clarity, and the piecemeal approach to resolving issues made the Square an unwelcoming place.


CCM Architects were awarded this project following a national tender. It required an innovative approach required careful planning around important aspects of the Square and to suit the staged funding constraints. Research was undertaken to rediscover the Squares’ history, and understand how this could be made relevant for the City. Providing a safe space was key and principles of CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) are fully embedded in the project. Integrated telecommunications and power facilities across the Square were also important features, enabling the space to be used for a variety of events and activities throughout the year. Careful consideration was given to the four quadrants, each providing different character, allowing for a variety of activities from active to contemplative, day and night. The Square has become a revitalised focus for the city; a space that has energy, speaks of its history with a strong identity of a sense of place.