108_ Aucklanders have said they want Auckland to build on its strengths and ensure growth and change is well planned and of a high quality*. They seek a quality compact model of growth that prevents excessive expansion into our rural hinterland. Some of the reasons for pursuing a quality compact urban form are set out in Box D.1. Aucklanders want to make best use of the land that has already been developed or targeted for development, supplemented with well-managed expansion into appropriate greenfields areas. Overwhelmingly, Aucklanders favour good design – ensuring that future development is done well, that it is sensitive to local character and community identity, and that it ensures the resultant urban areas are places where people and communities can live and interact successfully.
* High level summary of written submissions on the Draft Auckland Plan (3rd February 2012)
109_ A more compact form of growth means greater intensification in both existing and new urban areas. Intensification spans a spectrum – it is not one homogeneous level of density – and parts of Auckland are already fairly compact. However, further intensification across much of urban Auckland will occur in a way that sustains our quality of life, while providing for the expected population increase.
BOX D.1 BenefIts of A Quality compact form4,5
A quality compact form will benefit Auckland because:
Denser cities have greater productivity and economic growth
A compact urban form is much more likely to foster improvements in productivity and creativity. Clustering of people and economic activity can improve overall productivity by better enabling the exchange of ideas, the building of relationships/networks and better connectivity.
It makes better use of existing infrastructure
A quality compact form enables greater network efficiency through the cost-effective provision and servicing of physical infrastructure (transport, communications, water supply, wastewater, stormwater, energy) and social infrastructure (schools, community facilities). Better use of existing infrastructure costs less, and these cost savings are passed on to ratepayers, taxpayers and home buyers.
Improved public transport is more viable
An effective, efficient city relies on high levels of accessibility, where people can get around easily, and goods and services are moved quickly. A quality compact form supports residential areas that are well serviced by a mix of roads and public transport to move residents across the region to places of employment and recreation. Public transport is important as it gets people to their destination, and frees up capacity on Auckland’s roads for freight movement.
Rural character and productivity can be maintained
An important benefit of a quality compact city is enhanced urban amenity, complemented by rural and coastal lifestyle opportunities. Lifestyles affect the international perception of Auckland as a good place to live and work. Encouraging growth within the existing urban footprint protects Auckland’s rural hinterland and its productive potential: it enables ready access to coastal, marine and other recreation areas.
Negative environmental effects can be reduced
A quality compact form allows better protection of valued environmental qualities. Expansion into the rural environment is carefully managed to ensure areas of high biodiversity can be protected. At the same time, the potential adverse effects from urban activities (pollutants and greenhouse gases, stormwater flows into the marine environment, emissions to air) are minimised.
It creates greater social and cultural vitality
Developing more compact urban neighbourhoods supported by quality networked infrastructure offers opportunities to create healthy, stimulating, and beautiful urban environments. These in turn enhance social cohesion and interaction by attracting people across all demographic groups to a mix of cafes, restaurants, shops, services and well-designed public spaces. Such places provide a range of activities to meet the full spectrum of people’s everyday needs – for work, for play, for shopping and for education.
Auckland’s shape – past, present and future
110_ Auckland has grown into a city-region of 1.5 million people, of whom 1.4 million live in the urban core. The core area is surrounded by extensive rural areas, large green spaces, and numerous rural towns and villages. These rural areas cover approximately 80% of Auckland’s land mass, yet over 90% of residents live in the urban core. By 2040, there will have been substantial population growth within the exisitng urban footprint, and some growth beyond it. Warkworth in the north and Pukekohe in the south will have developed into large satellite towns with populations of between 20,000 and 50,000. Other rural and coastal towns will have grown also, but not to the same extent. The shape of future Auckland reflects both its north-south orientation and the need for our large rural areas to have northern and southern focal points for jobs and services. The core urban area will continue to be the main focus for growth. Figure D.1 shows how Auckland has grown over time, and how it is expected to change in the next 30 years.
111_ Several key principles underly our quality compact approach. These principles will ensure future growth maintains, and does not erode, Auckland’s essential qualities. They are:
- quality first – creating attractive neighbourhoods that people choose to live in
- generational change and a transition to a quality compact form
- providing for most growth – jobs and homes – inside the existing urban areas
- a rural-urban boundary and staged release of greenfields land, with timely delivery of infrastructure
- decade-by-decade housing supply that keeps up with population growth.
112_ Auckland insists that everything we do is of high quality, and particularly the way we manage or respond to change in our built environment. Successful destinations have the ‘X factor’ – the intangible qualities or characteristics that make a place or city memorable, and result in more people going there more often, staying longer, and choosing to work or live there. Without such quality attributes, Auckland would struggle to attract talented, skilled people, achieve its wider economic and social objectives, and fulfil its key role in New Zealand and the southwest Pacific.
113_ Quality is important at all scales of development. For this strategy quality is broadly defined as the quality of urban structure, building and housing design, the design of public places and amenities, and the qualities of a city/region that make it an attractive and desirable place. It also means a fair distribution of standards of living.
114_ On a broad scale, good urban structure aids connectivity, makes efficient use of land, and ensures important values are maintained. Within this structure is a hierarchy of centres (metropolitan centres, town centres, local centres), linked to the city centre and the interlinking networks of road and rail transport routes. These provide the basis for a quality compact Auckland; a framework for the development of neighbourhoods and business areas; and the design of local environments, buildings and places.
115_ Within the existing and future urban framework the development strategy gives priority to growth that is within reasonable walking distance of centres, community facilities, mixed-use employment locations, open space, and
high-frequency public transport.
116_ All new development will need to adhere to universal principles of good design and promote identity, diversity, integration and efficiency, whether at the scale of a site, a street/block, a neighbourhood, or the city. Better place-making, rather than development control, will become the focus of the planning process. Good design and placemaking will create our future heritage. At the same time, existing historic character areas will continue to be protected. Areas with other important character values will grow and change in ways that maintain and reinforce their existing values. High-quality design will deliver:
- a better built environment, including our homes: detached housing, terraces and townhouses, low-, medium- and highrise apartments that are durable and affordable
- quality urban public spaces easily accessible from places where people live and work, and within easy reach of amenities
- the tangible and intangible attributes of the city and its neighbourhoods that encourage people and businesses to choose to go there, either to visit or to stay permanently. These include the quality of our institutions (such as the health, education and tertiary sectors), cultural opportunities (such as art galleries, museums and theatres), and personal safety and security
- new developments that are sympathetic to the local environment.
117_ At a practical level, this means that locations for residential intensification will emphasise the character of the street for people over movement of vehicles. Similarly, where key locations or routes are identified for freight, logistics and industry, these will not be compromised by residential intensification. At the same time, Auckland demands good design and expects industrial and business areas will be pleasant places for workers. All significant developments, including publicly funded developments, will be assessed against the design principles contained in Chapter 10: Urban Auckland.
118_ Change will affect all areas. However, the degree of change will vary greatly – some areas will change only slightly, while other areas will change markedly. The Development Strategy maps illustrate the intended future pattern of change, and the future form of urban Auckland in 2040. Chapter 10: Urban Auckland, includes the priorities and directives to achieve quality in the urban environment. It also contains examples of the range of urban environments and housing types that are appropriate for Auckland.
119_ Achieving quality requires a commitment from all sectors to do things differently, and better. Good design and a willingness to innovate will ensure we achieve both quality and affordability, and address the current housing shortfall.
Generational change and a transition to a quality compact Auckland
120_ Auckland will experience significant change over the next 30 years. This is generational change, because it will take a generation to get to where we would like to be.
Where we have come from
Auckland’s rate of new housing supply was at a 30-year low in 2011, reflecting the effects of a major global economic downturn. During the peak in the economic cycle, demand and supply for attached housing reached almost 50% of total supply. However, in the low period, the level of attached housing as a proportion of total housing was almost nil – see Figure D.2. We can therefore expect that demand for attached housing will return as the economy improves, but factors that contribute to this volatility will need to be addressed.
121_ Figure D.3 shows the growth in housing supply over the next three decades. It recognises that it will take time to increase the number of dwellings we construct and the degree of intensification we will achieve following the Global Financial Crisis. The approach for the next three decades is therefore based on:
- broad agreement on the direction of travel to a quality compact Auckland
- change over a generation to lift the levels of construction of new dwellings of the right type, the right numbers and in the right locations, that will deliver a quality compact Auckland.
122_ The trajectory of growth in housing supply envisages a different focus decade by decade:
- The first decade is about ‘building the runway’: focusing on developing a track record for quality buildings, places and processes, building capability across the development sector, and greater confidence across all sectors involved in Auckland’s development.
- The second decade is about ‘gaining altitude’: growing public awareness of quality will encourage greater demand for quality compact housing.
- The third decade, ‘flight’: will maintain strong momentum towards ongoing delivery of quality housing that is affordable for most Aucklanders, where a significant proportion is attached and located in existing neighbourhoods, close to jobs and amenities.
123_ Part D4 of the Development Strategy, “Working and Delivering with Others” includes detail on the priorities and implementation tools that are intended in each decade.
Most growth inside the existing urban area
124_ Given the extent of our growth challenge, Auckland needs to enable balanced residential and business growth in existing urban areas and in new ‘greenfields’ areas. This means taking advantage of existing and planned greenfields areas in the short to medium term, while actively planning for intensification of both residential and business activity in appropriate areas.
125_ There is capacity for around 60,000 dwellings in the development pipeline (greenfields land), two thirds of which are within the baseline 2010 Metropolitan Urban Limit (MUL)*. This will allow early supply of land for mixed housing types and some additional employment. Additional greenfields for new homes and jobs can be planned for and made available later in the first decade, and throughout the second decade.
* The baseline 2010 MUL is the urban limit that was agreed to by the former Auckland Regional Council and territorial land authorities. The Auckland Plan uses it as a baseline to monitor urban expansion.
126_ There are two types of existing or committed business land: 930 hectares are zoned but currently vacant, and 450 hectares have been committed to the existing pipeline (greenfields). The location and configuration of this land may not be ideal in terms of industry requirements, and some flexibility is needed to provide additional capacity where it is most required (e.g. southern Auckland).
127_ At least 1,400 hectares of additional greenfields will be provided for business activities. Approximately 1,000 hectares of this will be for business activities that require large tracts of land (e.g. manufacturing, transport and storage, logistics and similar activities), as shown on Maps D.1 and D.2. A further 400 hectares of land will be provided for commercial activities, such as retail, office and service activities. New business activities will continue to be distributed in a balanced way, to ensure new jobs and new homes are in reasonable proximity to each other. The total area of business land available for development within current and future capacity, including vacant lots (930 ha), brownfields for redevelopment (510 ha), planning pipeline (430 ha), and new greenfields land (1400 ha minimum), is 3,270 hectares. This provides for 109 ha / annum over 30 years (which is greater than the 96 ha / annum uptake over the last 15 years). The three-yearly review of business land supply will identify if further greenfields land needs to be allocated for business activities.
128_ It is difficult to predict the future in a time of dynamic change. The Development Strategy has a clear priority to achieve a quality compact form, but has some flexibility in the degree to which this will be achieved.
129_ We will provide for 60% to 70% of total new dwellings inside the existing core urban area as defined by the 2010 MUL. Consequently, between 30% and 40% of total new dwellings will be outside of the baseline 2010 MUL in new greenfields, satellite towns, and rural and coastal towns. By enabling quality urban intensification, we aim to achieve the 70% inside figure at the end of the 30-year life of the Plan. We will also have flexibility to provide for 40% outside the MUL.
130_ Most major world cities have strategies which allow them to grow within (through quality infill/ intensification) and grow out, in order to accommodate projected population growth. Auckland is only at the early stages of intensification.
131_ Accommodating the expected population growth projections under a quality compact scenario for Auckland will require, on a long-run average per annum basis, the delivery of twice the total dwelling supply, and four times the attached dwelling supply, compared to the last twenty years.
132_ The Unitary Plan will support this strategy. Auckland Council will implement enabling zoning across appropriate areas in the new Unitary Plan. This will maximise opportunities for (re)development to occur through the initial 10- to15-year life of the Unitary Plan, while recognising the attributes local communities want maintained and protected. The Auckland Design Manual will sit alongside the Unitary Plan to guide quality (see Chapter 10: Urban Auckland).
A Rural Urban Boundary and staged release of greenfields land
133_ An important element in determining our future urban form is to define where the urban area stops and non-urban or rural environments start.
134_ Accordingly, the Development Strategy provides for a Rural Urban Boundary (RUB) that will define the maximum extent of urban development to 2040 in the form of a permanent rural-urban interface. The RUB will help achieve well-planned, efficient urban development, conserve the countryside, and encourage further growth and development of existing urban areas. The RUB is one of a number of tools that will be used in guiding Auckland’s future development.
135_ A RUB will be defined around all significant urban areas – the existing urban core, satellite towns, and rural and coastal towns. The Development Strategy Maps D.1 and D.2 show the current urban footprint and areas that are in various stages of preparation for development – the existing development ‘pipeline’. It also shows ‘areas for investigation’ for future greenfields development for new housing and employment – future urban land. The RUB will account for the outcomes of pre-existing application processes under the Resource Management Act (1991). This means that if these lands receive consent for urban development, they will be included within the RUB. Figure D.4 shows how land will be released inside a RUB over the term of the Plan.
BOX D.2 Indicative process for the delivery of new greenfields land for housing and business
Areas of investigation identified in the Auckland Plan
Investigate and plan, within identified greenfields areas for investigation, and identify a proposed RUB
Confirm 2040 RUB through the Unitary Plan process, with all land within the RUB being for future urban use
In stages, zone for the intended urban use (residential, business, mixed-use, open space etc.), service with bulk infrastructure, and release for development
Subdivide and build
136_ The greenfields areas of investigation have been identified to enable up to 40% of new dwellings outside the baseline 2010 MUL. These areas either have existing infrastructure, or are viable areas for the provision of new infrastructure. They are close to or can provide new employment and new homes, and are relatively unconstrained by environmental factors.
137_ The investigation of these areas is a priority for plan implementation, and will be conducted in a way that considers and supports all the outcomes and strategic directives in this Plan.
138_ Following the investigation of greenfields land and the establishment of the RUB, staged and managed land release will occur in approximately ten-year steps. This will ensure that there is at all times 20 years’ forward supply of development capacity, and an average of 7 years (with a minimum of 5 and maximum of 10 years) of unconstrained, ‘ready to go’ land supply. This means operative zoning and bulk services infrastructure are in place.
139_ Provision of the housing supply pipeline, which includes existing greenfields, the areas for investigation of new greenfields, and intensification and redevelopment in existing urban areas (brownfield development), will follow set procedures leading to the sale of new dwellings (see Box D.2 for greenfields supply). This process will be monitored and reported on annually to track supply and demand, and ensure sufficient land for housing supply and business land supply.
Decade by decade housing supply
140_ Building consents for new homes were at a 30-year low in 2011. The property market suffered following the global economic downturn that began in 2007. While house prices remained relatively stable or declined slightly during that time, the ability of the average Aucklander to afford to buy or rent an average 3-bedroom house was further diminished. At the same time, Auckland’s population continued to grow, causing more overcrowding in some parts of Auckland. In essence, not enough houses are being built, and those that are built are increasingly unaffordable for people on low to middle incomes. Auckland has a housing crisis. Chapter 1: Auckland’s People, and Chapter 11: Auckland’s Housing contain more detail on the nature of this crisis, and this Plan’s response.
141_ The Development Strategy forms a large part of this response, by enabling housing and employment that meets the needs of Aucklanders now and in the future. The Development Strategy includes ideas that are pivotal to providing housing for Aucklanders.
142_ As part of a long-term approach to planning and developing Auckland, this Plan encourages:
- Sufficient capacity for development – through detailed, ongoing monitoring of the housing and development pipeline, with planning to ensure forward capacity throughout the term of the Plan. This will require the facilitation of existing pipeline opportunities and the investigation and subsequent pipeline management of new greenfields areas. It will also require upzoning across wide areas of Auckland’s existing urban area, and a more enabling, outcomes-based Unitary Plan with a strong focus on quality.
- A wide choice of quality housing in the right locations. Over time, the viability of attached and higher-density housing will improve, and provide choice for Aucklanders. Chapter 10: Urban Auckland shows examples of housing types across a wide range of densities and formats, and indicates the types of locations where we can expect them to be built. This is also explained in the following section on the Development Strategy maps. A healthy supply of high-density housing has the potential to address the challenge of housing affordability, through efficiencies in land use and infrastructure provision. The delivery of housing choices depends on many organisations, notably the private sector.
- Housing that is affordable for as many Aucklanders as possible. This Plan promotes multi-sector collaboration to find innovative ways of getting Aucklanders into good homes they can afford to rent or buy. Existing approaches for the provision of housing are no longer enough. All supply-side factors are in need of a major rethink. This Plan promotes radical change in the whole supply chain for housing, beginning with things that the Auckland Council can do as a planner, regulator, and provider of infrastructure, and as a potential partner in the development process. An important principle advanced in this Plan is that there is transparency of the full social cost of people’s decisions on where to live, including infrastructure and traffic congestion costs. For example, development contributions for dwellings in a multi-unit property could be reduced to reflect their lower infrastructure costs, compared to those for a stand-alone detached house. Housing affordability is part of a larger issue of affordable living, where transport, for example, is considered along with the cost of housing.
Development Strategy maps
143_ The Development Strategy is expressed spatially in the following Map D.1: Development Strategy Map (Aucklandwide) and Map D.2: Development Strategy Map (Urban core). They show where growth will go in a quality compact Auckland – Auckland-wide and within the urban core – over the next 30 years. In particular, they show the degree of change expected across existing urban areas. In all cases, change will build on existing values to create a wide range of housing choices within a wide range of neighbourhoods, that all have their own unique character and attributes. While growth and change is expected, there will be ongoing protection of Auckland’s historic built form. Generally, areas already zoned for the protection of historic character have been mapped and identified as areas of least change. It is anticipated that Auckland Council will continue to identify and protect areas of valued historic character as required. The key on Map D.1 describes the degrees of change that are shown on the maps.
144_ At a larger scale, the future form will comprise a network of centres (and their walkable catchments), connected by transport corridors, which will accommodate a sizeable proportion of housing and employment growth. This approach has particular value in agglomerating activities and services, and supporting an efficient transport network. These centres will feature a range of employment, retail and residential functions. The City Centre will feature as the principal centre in Auckland, attracting international businesses. There is scope for major development and improvements in the City Centre to balance the employment, retail, social, cultural, and residential functions of the area. The City Centre will be supported by a range of activities in the City Centre Fringe, which will feature centres with their own distinctive character and identities. Corridors will include more intensive land uses located along major public transport routes.
145_ Metropolitan centres, such as Takapuna and Manukau, will accommodate a large proportion of the city’s future residential, retail and employment growth. Generally these areas will serve a sub-regional catchment and be supported by efficient transport networks. Town centres, such as Panmure, Manurewa, Browns Bay and Glen Eden, will serve a more immediate catchment, and provide a range of functions. Some new town centres may be identified, particularly in the greenfields areas of investigation. A greater number of local centres will feature as important hubs for local neighbourhoods. Local centres are not shown on the maps.
146_ Major business areas are hubs for employment, and will be restricted to that purpose. The City Centre and metropolitan centres are also employment hubs.
147_ Land that is already in the greenfields development process (largely undeveloped) is shown as ‘future urban areas’ on the maps. In some cases, further feasibility and planning work is needed to confirm their suitability for development, and to coordinate supporting infrastructure.
148_ Rural areas are categorised into activity areas. Outcomes for each, the uses and types of growth sought, will reflect the characteristics of the environments that they cover, their future opportunities, and the issues they face. They are rural production, mixed rural production, rural coastal, country living, bush living and rural island environments.
149_ The focus of future rural population growth is on existing towns and villages. However, limited rural growth that provides significant recreation opportunities or environmental protection and restoration, in return for subdivision rights, is foreseen.
150_ Two satellite towns are highlighted for their potential to function semi-independently of the main metropolitan area, and to provide a range of services to the surrounding rural areas. These factors make them suitable locations for substantial residential and employment growth.
151_ Eight rural and coastal towns are also expected to have limited growth, particularly where they can be readily serviced with infrastructure within the
30-year planning horizon. Rural and coastal villages (serviced and un-serviced) are not a focus for growth. They will provide for village living, dormitory residential, holiday and retirement living, service and tourist development functions, on a scale that is appropriate to their local character, the sensitivity of their surroundings, and the practicality of providing isolated infrastructure.
The distribution of growth
152_ Figures D.6 and D.7 indicate how much residential growth (expressed as new dwellings) is expected to occur in different areas over the 30-year planning horizon. Figure D.6 is a summary of growth over the full 30 years, and shows the distribution if 70% of growth is accommodated inside the baseline 2010 MUL, as well as the distribution if 60% is achieved.
153_ Figure D.7 shows a transition, decade by decade, from more greenfields residential development in the first decade to more development in the existing urban areas (‘infill’ and ‘redevelopment’) in the third decade. This reflects the current priority of increasing housing supply, and the reality that the industry is not yet well geared to provide large areas for highquality, intensified development. It is anticipated that around 100,000 dwellings will need to be built in the decade between 2012 and 2021. This will be challenging, given the current low levels of housing development. To respond, zoning for more capacity will need to be provided in the Unitary Plan to ensure that the projected numbers of dwellings can be built.
154_ Building on the groundwork of the first decade – particularly regarding the focus on quality; the return on investments, such as the public transport system; the demand for higher-density development; and the capacity of the development industry to provide it, will, in the second decade, see an increasing proportion of intensified development. As many as 180,000 dwellings should be built in the decade from 2022 to 2031, addressing shortfalls in dwelling numbers from the current decade. This volume of housing is very challenging. In the third decade (2032 to 2041), housing volumes may level off (to 120,000 dwellings), and a more mature market may see an even greater proportion of housing delivered as ‘redevelopment’ and attached housing in existing urban areas.
155_ Figure D.8 shows the comparison of the percentage of dwellings which are attached compared to those which are detached. It is estimated that achieving 70% of new dwellings inside the baseline 2010 MUL would require approximately 61% of all new dwellings being attached, whereas if 60% of new dwellings were inside the baseline 2010 MUL, then approximately 54% would be attached. That is, the more compact the city, the higher the proportion of attached dwellings.
156_ Figure D.9 shows the estimated level of growth envisaged in dwellings, distributed by sub-regional area. These figures indicate the approximate scale of growth needed to implement the Auckland Plan. These numbers may be refined following more detailed implementation planning. They only apply to ‘urban dwellings’ (i.e. dwellings in rural villages, country living, and other rural areas are not included). The figures show the intention for 70% of growth to occur within the baseline 2010 MUL, and the possibility of needing 40% of new dwellings outside the baseline 2010 MUL. Growth in dwellings in the Gulf Islands will be very small by comparison with other areas, and is included in the number for the central area.