With the launch of the Centre City Plan discussion document, has Auckland shown that it is more prepared than Wellington to put in place some realistic 21st Century, urban design thinking?

Does this sound familiar? – A city needing to find a way of connecting itself to its harbour where a major road is in the way; a need for more and better public transport with light-rail and trams firmly in the front running; a desire for more, and useable, city parks; better protection of heritage buildings; serious, dedicated cycleways (not ones shared with cars) and becoming an Eco City?

This is a city actively engaging with its inhabitants through good urban thinking.  It’s also a city trying hard to put right some abysmal urban issues that have cemented themselves into the city’s fabric through lack of thought for people (pedestrians over the easy acknowledgement of cars and commerce.  Auckland is realising that, in the small world of the 21st Century, a city is a 24 hour inorganic being: by day a centre of commerce and ‘out-of-hours’ a place for living.  As a city, it must cope with both. As part of this 21st century, it must also consider its future consequences.

Wellington is a very special city that has shown intent by electing a very Green mayor.  Its Council has taken the opportunity to consider its future by producing its 2040 document but are we showing our normal vision or has Auckland finally stolen our thunder?

Today Wellington is a city occupied by a shrinking public servant population and one where institutional commerce left years ago.  It is blessed by its wild topography, which has forced a compact city to form.  The struggling business community is keen as ever for direction and certainty so can our Council deliver?

Please give us: a city fit for people and business, but with people first; a place that recognizes the world is depleting its resources and its climate is changing radically by emphasizing its lead of Greenness; a Council that is united and clear in making decisions lead by its mayor and above all, a group of people that lead rather than follow, with intelligent and well informed thought.

Well done Auckland – it’s not ‘rocket science’ to get it right.  The Arch Centre have plenty of other ideas you can use to help solve your issues and is happy to share them!



3 responses to “Are Auckland Learning From Us?”

  1. Very good news for Auckland – and also for / from Christchurch as well, who have similarly produced a quite comprehensive new city planning document. In the case of ChCh, we know that the city really needs a new plan, as their old plan is literally shot to pieces – ripped up / torn down. They have had a powerful amount of public input too – over 20,000 post-it ideas from citizens must have given a pretty serious steer as to what the public are concerned about.

    Auckland has also produced their new plan since their new Mayor has come to town – and since the supercity started. No doubt that they deserve it too… So what has gone wrong with the administration of the new city plan at Wellington? The capital has a fresh, Green mayor, but the city urban design department has had about it’s tenth revamp of the team over the last half decade, and still appears directionless.

    Yes – you’re right – Auckland has stolen our thunder – and I hope like heck that someone at Council knows how to get the lead back…

  2. Oh, I think they’ve stolen the lead now. They’ve a long way to go, but they appear to be getting more ambitious about it than Wellington. We’ve become a bit complacent, stagnant, down here I’d say. Afraid to make big plans. Good on Auckland, hate to say it but if they keep it up, and we don’t pick it up, I might even move that way in a decade.

  3. Looking at Auckland from the other side of the planet (just back from the Netherlands) it has a very very long way to go…. great that it is shifting its thinking (which is critical) not unlike cities such as Rotterdam or Hamburg through re-thinking the water edge and its value to unlock a huge sense of identity and wellbeing for the city… but Auckland has some much deeper more disturbing challenges – demographics and infrastructure are the two big ones. Wellington by contrast if it wakes up can really build on its exceptional compactness. Being primarily a walking city will become more important for the new forms of business as well as livability in our crazy times. My guess is that the big shift will come with the growth of the airport, linking wellington direct on long haul flights. Then it will shift from being a backwater and quaint government centre into an accessible and attractive destination on the mainline infrastructure. The big question remains… is Wellington ready to embrace this kind of radical investment to unlock a very dynamic future – then the debates about downtown infrastructure will be very different. Personally I think Wellington needs some really weird stuff now to build on the great atmosphere and synergy of the compact urban village …. it would be great to quadruple the population and intensify the Hutt Valley and Kapiti coast (is that sustainable…. I know, planet earth can only cope with a dozen humans, but with the right approach to dense, compact development (urban farming integrated) then we could seed a new generation of radically sustainable architecture that performs – unlike the majority of the city fabric at existing suburban densities. – now there’s a challenge !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *