Mark Thomas - New Mayor for Auckland

Greg Clark: “Intensify The City Center And Protect The Suburbs”

Additional submissions on the Unitary Plan have been refused by the Hearings Panel. If they had been allowed, I would have encouraged international cities specialist Greg Clark to make a submission.

Visiting Auckland again last week, he said Auckland’s big failure has been not ‘intensifying’ (my word) properly in our city center. He goes on to say that better planned and managed growth in the city center would “protect the suburbs from the unplanned growth that some of them don’t want to have” (his words), or need to have (my words).

Greg Clark works around the world advising many cities on the steps they need to take to be more successful. He has visited Auckland around half a dozen times since 2010 and often offers perceptive comments. I spoke with him on his last visit about how we should be doing a better job tracking our progress.

I have agreed for some time with his comment that for Auckland to be more successful, we need to grow our city centre more strongly (and other metropolitan areas). In addition to investment in the waterfront and other commercial assets, a critical piece is boosting residential accommodation. Successful global cities have strong inner city populations.

We need to sensibly add further housing, and different housing types in our suburbs (as we have been doing). But the grief Auckland Council is prepared to visit on suburban Auckland as result of its recent ‘upsizing’ wouldn’t be necessary if we had developed a more thoughtful and determined city center residential growth strategy.

Greg was interviewed by Auckland Council here.

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    A tale of two cities