Up and Out Optimal for Growth
Media Release 12 September 2014
Auckland Council CEO: “A Little Bit Up A Little Bit Out” is Optimal
Auckland Council’s Chief Executive says communities must be more actively engaged to convey the benefits of vertical growth.
Stephen Town spoke to an audience of 300 delegates from the public and private sectors at Property Council’s annual National Conference in Wellington.
According to Mr Town, Auckland Mayor Len Brown’s comment on “going a little bit up and a little bit out” in reference to the draft Proposed Unitary Plan is a great concept and one that Auckland should adopt.
Mr Town says Auckland should take a leaf out of the books of places such as Vancouver where he found the city to have successfully negotiated “going up in height” with its respective communities and providing bonus amenities in a bid to obtain support for the compromise that growth demands from citizens if total urban sprawl is to be avoided.
According to Mr Town Auckland will have to do the same to prevent urban sprawl out into its productive rural areas.
He says this has to be done by engaging communities on the quality of height.
“I think we have to be clear on quality for people.
We also have to be clear on the quality of urban amenities such as streetscapes, footpaths, and parks.
What do people get by agreeing to allow density to go upwards?"
Mr Town says local boards must play a crucial role in garnering community support.
“I think we have to work on this suburb by suburb, which is where our relationship with local boards is going to come so crucial.
We are going to need local boards to embrace growth and to see that height is not just horrible that it actually can be really positive.
“You can transform a community over time in a way that people are really happy with, and cities like Vancouver have given us some pointers about how to do that."
Mr Town believes the private sector has an important role in Auckland’s growth.
“Certainly one of the things that I’ve brought to the council is some experience with public--private partnerships and we want to find ways to open those opportunities up.
“We want the development community to know that we see working with the private sector and private investors as key to managing the growth challenge in Auckland successfully."