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Bad Building Awards Scheme Proposed For Auckland

For Immediate Release
25 August 2004

Bad Building Awards scheme proposed for Auckland City

Auckland City needs a new award scheme, "The ABBA's" - the Auckland Bad Building Awards - says mayoral candidate, Bruce Hucker.

"Development over the past 30 years has seen more significant buildings demolished than built. The standard of new buildings in that time suggests many developers really are competing for an award in tacky design," he says.

Dr Hucker, a city councillor, is also a senior lecturer in planning at the University of Auckland."

"With imagination and political will Auckland City could be New Zealand's urban design leader," he says. "But we are actually heading in the other direction so good urban design in Auckland City needs urgent work on many fronts."

Among urgent requirements Dr Hucker lists:

* An assessment of the Central Area Plan policies and rules to encourage sustainable development;

* An audit of urban design policies and rules;

* Serious resources invested in an urban design unit;

* A "fair wind" policy to give priority to quality developments;

* A change to the Building Act to specify minimum sizes for apartments.

"Auckland City Council needs to work with designers and developers to create an urban design masterplan," he says. "And we need to join with the New Zealand Institute of Architects and the Property Council to persuade developers and investors to invest in the future by using good designers.

"A start has been made with the Urban Design Panel which is already making a difference with CBD projects and work on the Nelson Quarter development," says Dr Hucker. "But the Central Area Plan needs urgent review to ensure it lives up to urban design principles.

"Many residents have approached me with horror stories about the impact of neighbouring developments on their lives. Invariably, on investigation, I have found that developers have simply been exercising their rights under the planning rules.

" These rules need to change to ensure new developments enhance existing communities rather than detract from them.

"We need to get the correct mix of old and new buildings. And we must fight tooth and nail for heritage and open space."


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