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Mixed Housing Suburban vs Mixed Housing Urban- What’s the difference?

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

The property market is Auckland is hot- land is selling like hot cakes and for a high price. To offset that, people often want to develop the land in some way. In Auckland, we often hear about the two most common residential zones in the Auckland Unitary Plan, Mixed Housing Suburban and Mixed Housing Urban. These two zones offer great development opportunities, but what are differences between these two zones?

Mixed Housing Suburban Zone (MHS)

This is the most widespread residential zone in the Auckland Unitary Plan (Operative in Part) and includes many established residential areas as well as some greenfield sites. Existing development in this zone is commonly dwellings that are one to two-storeys in height, and many standalone buildings. The zone anticipates an increase in density above what exists in many existing locations, with the potential for three dwellings per site as a permitted activity, subject to meeting applicable Standards. More than three dwellings requires assessment via a resource consent application The intent of this zone is to provide a range of residential typologies, including two-storeys detached and terraced-arrangement developments.

Mixed Housing Urban Zone (MHU)

This zone provides for a reasonably high-intensity development, a step up from the Mixed Housing Suburban Zone. This zone allows for an increase in building height and density. Often this zoning is located near the Metropolitan Town Centre Zone and the Terrace Housing Apartment and Building Zone (the highest density residential zone). It provides for urban living with good access to public transport and amenities, promoting walkable neighbourhoods. Buildings in this zone are typically up to three storeys in a variety of residential typologies, including detached dwellings, terrace housing and low-rise apartments.

What are the main differences between the two zones?

The main difference between the zone Standards in the AUP(OP) are set out in the table below[i].

As you can see, the MHU zone enables taller buildings, closer to the road, and expects that more of the site will be covered in buildings rather than landscaped space. The zone still however expects a similar degree of on- site amenity, with outdoor living space, outlook space and daylight Standards being very similar.

What are the similarities between the two zones?

In terms of similarity, both MHS and MHU zones allow the establishment of three dwellings on one site as a permitted activity, subject to meeting applicable Unitary Plan Standards. This means that a resource consent is not required, provided all other rules and standards (in addition to the table above) of the Unitary Plan is met. This includes (but not limited to) zone Standards, and Auckland- wide standards (such as earthworks, transportation, hazards etc).

Four or more dwellings will require a resource consent, where Council officers will be largely looking at the bulk and location of the buildings, site and building design, traffic, parking and access. You need to ensure that your development is consistent with the outcomes sought for each zone and provides a high amenity space for both future residents and the wider environment. You should seek the assistance of a Planner for planning advice and assistance with your development design and resource consent application.

Want to know more?

If you have a development in mind and think you need a resource consent, or need more detailed feasibility advice, get in contact. We specialise in resource consents and pride ourselves on giving you accurate and realistic advice and taking the stress out of the process for you. Get in touch to discuss your proposal with one of our friendly team at or 09 427 9966.


As with all our blogs this information is preliminary in nature only and we have endeavoured to ensure it is correct at the time of writing. It is not intended to substitute for your own investigations or obtaining specific advice on your proposal from professionals. Planning Plus Ltd TM is not liable in any way for any errors or omissions.

© Planning Plus Ltd 2023

[i] This is a brief summary; please do not rely on this table for your development design. Please check the exact Standard wording in the Unitary Plan.

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1 comentário

Hala Toubia
Hala Toubia
24 de set. de 2021

Going by your assessment the Greenmeadows Avenue in Manurewa East which is just off the Te Mahia train station and several town centres including Takanini and Manurewa should have been zoned as urban mixed housing rather than suburban.

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