Second CBD - Policy - John Palino
Auckland has an incredible opportunity. We can take the population growth we know we’re going to get and turn it into prosperity, quality of life and better outcomes for our people. In just the next few years, we can launch a major new urban centre – a second CBD that ticks off all the boxes in terms of developing commercial growth and alleviating social problems associated with a lack of economic opportunities. This is a chance to develop our city, world recognised for providing jobs, nightlife, recreation and housing, all in a way that meets the expectations of 21st century Aucklanders. This new city can be initiated in Manukau or perhaps a similar neighbouring region, based around frequent, fast public transport; it can adopt all the principles of hi-tech, smart, green cities; it can provide the kind of lifestyle choices Aucklanders want without compromising existing communities. This can happen, but we must change our approach to growth.
Auckland Councils to date have managed growth so poorly for so long that residents now view a growing population as a huge burden. And why wouldn’t they? The Auckland Council is trying to squeeze additional houses into suburbs never designed for such levels of density. As a direct result, there’s an imminent threat to established communities and character neighbourhoods, as well as significant projected increases in congestion, overcrowding in schools and a compromised standard of living for everyone. It just doesn’t have to be this way.
We can move growth out of suburbs designed to be low density and into new areas designed for intensive development. We don’t have to change neighbourhoods that have developed over generations. Shifting the growth to new areas will not only avoid the need for expensive and inefficient retrofitting, it will maximise new investment that we know we are going to have to make anyway. We can save money and achieve a better outcome – for old residents and new.
Developing a Second CBD is more efficient, more sustainable, more sensible and more acceptable to existing residents
A new CBD-scale urban centre with high-rise living and employment is the most efficient approach to managing Auckland’s growth. Located on top of a rail or bus way station, a major new metropolitan centre will utilise existing transport investment, offsetting the requirement for big new spending. Using scale to leverage efficiencies, we can build more housing for less and deliver the water, energy and critical services residents need at the lowest possible cost. And by building from the ground up, in a new development area away from existing residents, we can roll out new buildings which meet modern expectations and standards faster and cheaper.
A second CBD is the most environmentally responsible approach to managing Auckland’s growth. We can make better use of the land by building up, reducing the pressure to expand out. Buildings between three and five stories are the most energy efficient urban form, requiring comparatively little energy to build and operate, while providing the densities required to sustain efficient and effective public transport services. Constructing a brand new city will allow the latest and most effective technologies to be delivered which minimise energy and water inefficiencies and help protect rural land.
A second CBD is the most sensible way to manage Auckland’s growth. Identifying a new brownfield or Greenfield site for major new development and then aligning Council policies to remove impediments to construction will expedite growth in that area. With well-timed Council investment, we can then phase new development so that residents move into the centre as infrastructure and other services become available. This will avoid the cost associated with idle and underutilised assets, make best use of Council resources in the short and long term, and incentivise development in an area with lower overall costs to the region.
A second CBD is the most publicly acceptable way to manage Auckland’s growth. New growth in Auckland is often viewed as a burden. That’s because the Council has handled it so poorly. New growth is an opportunity for new services, new living opportunities, new lifestyles, new activities and new futures. A second CDB delivers on this vision and doesn’t come at the expense of established communities. We can develop a new centre away from existing suburbs so that we do not intrude upon quiet, suburban environments and crowd out long standing character neighbourhoods. We can start development from anew and avoid conflict with residents.
In my first three months as Mayor, I’m going to initiate a positive public engagement process to identify a shortlist for Auckland’s priority growth area. This will not be an exercise in finding the location of least resistance, but a location where nearby residents buy in to the promise of jobs, investment and opportunity near to their community. I am committed to providing for growth in a way that excites and inspires Aucklanders because it delivers them a better future.
As public engagement progresses, I’m going to work with the Council and Council officials to investigate the most cost effective and appropriate location for a second CBD. The new location maybe greenfield or brownfield, but will have to be served by rapid transit to the Auckland CBD and be capable of accommodating over 100,000 people with critical water, electricity and other services. The environment must be capable of handling this level of growth and there must be market appetite to live in the area.
Using the findings of Council technical experts and the expertise of local residents, we can identify a priority location for a Second CBD. After a location has been identified, I’m going to rally Council and private sector support to ensure an integrated partnership approach to development. I want to use the long-term future rates income generated from new residents moving into the growth area to drive investment in the short term. This will reduce the impact on existing ratepayers and stimulate private investment.
Furthermore, as a priority growth area, a second CBD location will align with regional objectives and therefore justify lower, if not waived, development contribution charges. Removing this barrier to development will help spur development in the immediate future, ensuring the region gets new ratepayers and consumers using services faster, saving both public and private investors money.
Aligning Council policy in this way to facilitate and encourage private investment in housing, employment, amenities and services, we can create a vibrant new city in our region. A new city that is accessible to all Aucklanders takes pressure off established communities and delivers the best value for money to ratepayers.