Opportunity for planning and investment rethink
Auckland Council density decision provides opportunity for planning and investment rethink
25 February 2016
“The Auckland Council’s decision yesterday to not proceed with out of scope changes to the Unitary Plan provides an opportunity to rethink how the city develops and underlines the urgency of targeting growth in areas with infrastructure capacity and fewer local impacts,” says Stephen Selwood of the NZ Council for Infrastructure Development.
"The changes would have increased provision for medium density housing across parts of the isthmus, affecting a number of neighbourhoods and communities which had been engaged in a prolonged and complex period of consultation.
"The upside from the decision is that it presents an opportunity to rethink how Auckland accommodates the next million residents.
“The Auckland Transport Alignment Project’s Foundation report released last week suggests current plans for wide distribution of medium density housing across Auckland are contributing to congestion and not transforming public transport use.
“The combination of poor projected transport outcomes and public disquiet over new development proposals necessitates a major rethink of how growth is distributed across the city and supported by transport and other infrastructure.
“Going higher in targeted locations, particularly around rail, provides the opportunity for urban regeneration in a way that is commercially viable and avoids the spread of medium density development across the city, which is the current focus of concern.
“International evidence shows that scale redevelopment can be used to co-fund transport investment and master-plan regenerating communities around public transport, walking and cycling.
“ATAP findings indicate that simply providing for more density in suburban areas does not address the way people move around. The continuing reliance upon private vehicles within a more contained urban form materialises as congestion, undermines the value of investing in public transport and does not meet anyone’s objectives for lifestyle and productivity.
“Provision for medium density housing in areas unsupported by public transport and other essential infrastructure should be withdrawn and restrictions on much higher density development in areas with adequate amenity, particularly public transport, loosened.
“We should also seriously consider new satellite cities, such as around Paerata and Drury, where new high density housing can be oriented around rail and master-planned to accommodate efficiently the types of housing and transport people want and can afford.
“The Council and Government should come to the party to direct spending to development nodes, linking investment in community facilities like pools and schools to the accommodation of new residents in growth priority areas.
“If you get the growth, you should get the money.
“We can and must do a much better job of accommodating growth in way which delivers better productivity, better communities and a better Auckland,” Selwood says.