Wellington 2040: A smart green city – a “freakin fantastic” idea

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Image by Phillip Capper

This post is really just a heads-up for those of you who don’t keep up with the Dom-Post (and let’s be honest, they don’t really offer much reason to do so), but here is an article (via stuff.co.nz) that should have some interest for our members:

Wellington 2040: A smart green city

Although I recommend you read the article for yourself, the basic gist is that WCC have prepared a Central City Strategy that recognises the central city’s role as the heart of Wellington, and seeks to devise a central city framework that recognises and further develops that role. Four basic goals for turning Wellington into the promised smart green city form the core of the document. These goals are:

  1. People-centred city: Create a vibrant, affordable, resilient city, with a strong identity. Expressed through urban form, openness and accessibility.
  2. Connected city: With people, other places and ideas. Regionally, nationally and internationally. Including world class information and communication technology infrastructure.
  3. Eco-City: Take environmental leadership role as the country’s capital. Establish proactive responses to environmental challenges. Foster a green economy.
  4. Dynamic central city: Create a place of creativity, exploration and innovation. Offer a vibrant place for lifestyle and entertainment. Continue to drive the regional economy.

All noble goals to be sure, and ones that I am certain will have resonance for Architectural Centre members (don’t let us blindly assume this however – have your say below…).

A main part of the article focuses on the increased central city living, and the consequent need for a greater range of public spaces to accommodate these city dwellers. Revitalised lanes, boulevards, and open spaces are signalled.

Let’s hope that the vision becomes more than just a vision, and begins to inform pragmatic decisions sooner than later – like, I don’t know, the decision on the proposed Basin Reserve SH1 flyover for example – which, in its ‘drive’ (pun intended) to make the city a route for motorised transport for the rest of the North Island to the Wellington Airport, delivers the opposite of the four goals above. Does WCC have the courage and wherewithal to stick up for its own goals and convince NZTA to go for a more holistic solution? We have already proposed an alternative to the flyover proposal (see here), which does deliver to the above goals, which we will continue to further develop…

Anyway – the document is due to be released on June 20, and you can be sure we’ll cover it in more depth here and probably in other fora, as well as provide feedback to WCC as part of their consultation process. It would be great to hear what you think, and we’ll aim to provide suitable fora for that to occur in the near future. In the meantime – the comments below are open for your initial thoughts…


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Posted under: News, urban design | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to “Wellington 2040: A smart green city – a “freakin fantastic” idea”

  1. tomek Says:

    I think that point #2—Connected City—is the key. If the city is well connected and flows well, for everyone, pedestrians, cycling folk and motorists too (remember, cars are not going away, ever) the rest will fall into place.

    There are many recent example of traffic changes which are counter-productive to achieving the goal of connectedness. Just go out to any recently changed intersection and count the number of traffic signal posts. It’s like being in a forest. Eg: Taranaki/Dixon/Manners/Courtenay, Cuba/Wakefield. It’s visually polluting, unnecessarily complex and dangerous because it’s hard to read that many signals.

    What about the Civic Square? It’s an island with no real connections. Such a vast and well sheltered space in the middle of the CBD should be a mecca for daytime and weekend events but go there on any day and I dare you to count the number of people just hanging out.

    How about walking up Taranaki St toward Wellington High? What’s that experience like? I walk there a lot and let me tell you, it’s not very pleasant so I often turn up Buckle and into Tasman. For me it’s the width of the street and total lack of vegetation that’s a big problem. With a street that wide I’m sure there’s room for a median green strip. I think that we underestimate the influence of visual appeal on a routes connectability (that’s not really a word, is it?)

    cheers,
    -tomek

  2. m-d Says:

    That’s all true, but I think point 2 is about making connections between Wellington and other places, rather than physical connections within the city fabric – which I see as being part and parcel of point 1: especially its urban form, openness and accessibility. Point 2 rather, seems to be about initiatives like free internet access in the cbd for example (e.g. expanding the TradeMe waterfront initiative)…

    Connectivity?

  3. IS Says:

    Remember these guys? – Kind of sums up my desires for Wellington 2040 🙂

  4. IS Says:

    Drat – here’s the link… http://architecture.org.nz/2010/06/02/video-of-the-week-xlii-besti-flokkurinn/

  5. tomek Says:

    Bwahahahahah!!!

  6. P Holl Says:

    I’m very impressed with the breadth of initiative shown by the Council – they’ve taken some big steps, which would really do a lot to improve the outlook of residents in this fine city of ours. What intrigues me is the high quality of the rendered images – they must have commissioned some top architects to design the buildings and the spaces. Does anyone know who they might be?

  7. Scott Says:

    Sounds a lot like the plans for central Christchurch both pre and post quakes. Check out the Public Space Public Life report prepared for Christchurch by Jan Gehl’s team.

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