Auckland growth inevitable

Thursday 21 February 2013

It’s tempting to think there’s a bit of Nimbyism at play whenever there’s outrage at the idea of intensification of Auckland city.

By The Landlord

The latest is over the Auckland Council draft unitary plan.

It proposes to reduce the minimum apartment size allowed in the city from 35 square metres to 30 square metres, with a minimum balcony space of 8 square metres.

The plan also allows for much more intensification to squeeze in a million more people by 2040.

Under the plan, the greatest intensification will occur in 10 "metropolitan" centres, where apartments of 18 storeys will be allowed. This is followed by 37 town centres, where four to eight storeys will be permitted.

Moving out of these centres into residential areas, the council has created a 250m zone for terraced housing and apartments of between four and six storeys.

As could be expected, this has prompted anguish from people who fear parts of Auckland will be turned into slums. Others say the proposed smaller apartments will be worthless shoeboxes, filled with people who cannot afford to live anywhere else.

But apartment living – even in quite small apartments - is a way of life in other countries. It has to be, otherwise where will the people go?

We can’t dictate that all new migrants must live in Thames to keep the population pressure on Auckland down. Or that all apartments must be lavish three-bedroom properties with big mortgages to match. Not everyone needs, or wants, a large home.

The population is growing, we need to find somewhere to house them.

Anyone who has travelled in from the outskirts of the city on a Monday morning will know that an ever-expanding city, in which first-time buyers live progressively further and further away, is not really an option. Few people would think a daily two-hour commute was a fair trade-off for owning their own home.

As well as intensification, we need better public transport systems so that people who do live on the outskirts of the city can still travel to work in the CBD, if they need to. Waiting for a bus that may or may not turn up for a journey that could take twice as long as expected is not an appealing prospect.

Auckland is going to keep growing.  It isn’t feasible for it to continue to only grow out – at some stage it’s going to have to go up. Let's do it properly - and support the developers who will be behind it.

Comments from our readers

On 26 February 2013 at 1:24 pm sMiles said:
Point one quote is 'We can’t dictate'. That is exactly what the planners are doing - dictating. Point two quote: 'travelled in from the outskirts of the city'. If there was freedom to build anywhere there would be no need to travel to the city. People could live and travel just down the road and stay 25 kms away from the city. Why force everyone to go up in Auckland CBD. Think for example of Christchurch's CTV building. Who wants to live in a death trap? So what if apartment living is a way of life overseas. I have no objection to free choice in developers building apartments if they want but trying to force everyone into them is daft imperialism.

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