Written By: - Date published: 10:15 am, April 22nd, 2013 - 8 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, climate change, housing, infrastructure, national, public transport, sustainability - Tags: urban intensification
The draft Auckland Unitary Plan is a massive (and impressive) collection of documents, and is hard for an Auckland lay person like me to get my head around. One of the main elements of it, is that it focuses perhaps incorrectly, on the presumed continuing growth of the Auckland region.
The AUP has opted for a compromise between intensification within existing urban boundaries and spread outwards into existing greenfields. This is where there is a major conflict between the government, which wants to over-ride the AUP and enforce less density and more outward spread. This completely ignores the unacceptable stress it will put on the Auckland infrastructure. This is particularly the case given that Key, Nick Smith, Joyce et al have no intention of significantly improving the infrastructure. Such improvement requires a major development of public transport.
There is also tension between the government and some councillors who argue that the AUP is set to be implemented too quickly. The government wants it to take 3 years, while the Auckland Council plans for it to begin this September. Some councillors like the “right leaning” Christine Fletcher are with the government on pressing for the AUP implementation to be delayed.
One of the main drivers of the urgency for implementation is the affordable housing crisis in Auckland. The AUP on its own cannot fix this without support from the government. The government needs to put more focus on state and other forms of social housing. However, I also can’t see why the Auckland Council couldn’t also implement some initiatives towards supporting more state housing, and community housing cooperatives.
Matt L on The Auckland Transport blog has a post untangling the complexities around the AUP on the issue of the quality of the “intensification” in the AUP. It’s still pretty complex, but goes some way to helping the lay person understand the potential impacts of the AUP. The post concludes,
Perhaps to summarise all this, it seems that the Unitary Plan is something of a “double edged sword” when it comes to intensification. It potentially allows a lot of growth and intensification, but it seems to set a really high bar in terms of requirements for a proposal to be consented while also requiring an unusually high proportion of developments to go through the consenting process. Generally I think this is an excellent approach: to say to developers that there’s a lot of potential here but to unlock that potential you’re going to need to build some great stuff.
Matt also refers to an article on Stuff that claims it’s mainly the older property owners and retirees in North Shore’s Milford area who are opposed to intensification In contrast, some younger people are more for the intensification. Generation Zeros, Dr Sudhvir Singh, campaigner on climate change and for inter-generational justice, says:
I grew up watching our Torbay community unite over opposing sprawl into Long Bay and Okura,” he says.
“Opposing modest intensification in places like Milford and Glenfield will only drive this type of ugly, expensive, environmentally damaging sprawl as we need to accommodate one million additional Aucklanders over the next 30 years.”
“In general, younger people don’t want to be told to live on the urban fringe on a big section and want the choice of having a terraced house/apartment in a well located area that allows us to be close to work and our social life and removes the dependence on having a car.”
I’m for the intensification, glad it is proposed that there will be a high bar to intensification, and that, as indicated by Matt L, things like the Dwelling designs need to adress specifications for
The Auckland Council website has lots of stuff on the draft AUP. It includes guidance on making submissions. It’s easier to focus on one locality of interest, than trying to make sense of the plan as a whole – at least initially. The Shape Auckland Blog is also useful. On it I found this useful collection of videos. It has links to videos of 3-D models that graphically show what the developments will possibly look like in areas across Auckland, over selected time periods in the future. This is the video for Newmarket
It’s cool and helpful, but while it focuses on shape, it doesn’t help in visualising how social housing, including state housing, could fit in with the AUP.