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Vida Christeller

Leader of City Design at Wellington City Council, New Zealand

About Vida

Vida Christeller trained as an architect, but has worked throughout her career in urbanism.


Vida spent 13 years in Copenhagen working on a variety of developments from the City’s architecture and greening policies, to master planning of new city districts and co-design of social housing development before returning to her hometown of Wellington in 2019.


Vida leads the City Design team at Wellington City Council, New Zealand, a team focused on influencing and delivering people-centric streets and spaces which build on the best of Wellington and transforms the City to be fit for the future. Her focus is on ensuring that Councils Strategy and Policy is implemented and the city becomes more sustainable in the whole holistic sense of the word - that densification is done well through empowering Wellingtonians of all ages and abilities to get around safely on foot and by bike, increasing urban greening, delivering public space upgrades and working together with communities on place-based regeneration. 


Wellington City Council is turning strategy into action and are beginning a decade of transformative change - a key part of this is implementing Paneke Pōneke, the Bike Network Plan in 10 years - a 166km network of connected and protected bike.


Wellington is also one of 10 cities from across the globe recognised with a Bloomberg Initiative for Cycling Infrastructure (BICI) grant in 2023.

Conference Topic

Wellington City Council innovate bike network, and how/why it has gained global recognition

Wellington is a compact city and with the rise of e-bikes to flatten the hills and create a tailwind in the world’s windiest capital, biking is on the rise.


In 2021 the Wellington City council through the tri-annual budgeting process instructed me and my team to increase our rate of delivery and focus the next 3 years on a rapid roll out of the bike network. This ambitious goal required a departure from business as usual processes, a significant injection of resources and a heavy dose of leadership, resilience and determination. Best practice design guidance met the reality of constrained corridors where perfect was often the enemy of progress. New design tools like bus stop bypasses, in-lane bus stops, diagonal bike crossings and hook turns were introduced with a range of success.  


The impacts of the programme are being felt widely across the city and span the full spectrum of love and hate. In this presentation I will talk about our journey so far, how we set up our programme to deliver on our Councillors vision and some of the key learnings we have had to date.


We have received both a national and international award for the programme, we are proud of the work that’s been achieved, but we’re really only just getting started.

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