May 7 2014
Next stage of Auckland Housing Accord a license for urban sprawl
Youth organisation, Generation Zero, believe the next stage of the Auckland Housing Accord, released today, is a mixed blessing, allowing for some forward looking development around existing town centres, but altogether too much urban sprawl.
The third tranche of 41 Special Housing Areas (SHAs), released today by Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith and Auckland Mayor Len Brown, allow for 18000 dwellings, half of which are in the form of greenfield development. Spokesperson for Generation Zero, Dr Sudhvir Singh; "These SHAs are a missed opportunity. While the Accord allows for some brownfield development, it fast tracks a large amount of urban sprawl, which will result in more carbon pollution and traffic congestion for all Aucklanders. This is despite an urgent need for more housing choices in Auckland, particularly smaller well-designed housing close to public transport stations.”
Over the next 30 years, couples without children and one person households will be the most rapidly growing household type in Auckland. Dr Singh; “The SHAs should reflect Auckland’s changing trends, particularly the transition to smaller households, and young families seeking a range of housing and transport choices.”
The SHAs allow for significant developments in Whenuapai, Kumeu and Westgate, which are served exclusively by motorways and will therefore be car dependent developments. The Auckland Council Unitary Plan imposes several density restrictions which limit the ability to produce dwellings in the existing town centres. Dr Singh; “Instead of moving Auckland towards a quality compact city, we’ve chosen to impose overly harsh restrictions on density and height which forces urban sprawl. This will in turn drive higher rates, more traffic congestion, reduced housing choices and increased carbon pollution.”
“Young people are calling for density done well, enabling more housing choices in areas where we work and study. Instead of focussing on urban sprawl, the Government and Council should have focussed on quality, and ensured that the SHAs enable a balanced approach to density which would have helped Auckland overcome the major challenges of housing affordability, traffic congestion and climate change” says Dr Singh.
Generation Zero is an organisation representing over 4000 young New Zealanders nationally working to cut New Zealand's carbon pollution through smarter transport, liveable cities, & independence from fossil fuels.