579_ Auckland’s urban area consists of a variety of interconnected neighbourhoods, centres and business areas, which support where most Aucklanders live, work and spend their leisure time. Much of Auckland’s urban area will change as the population grows, ranging from least to moderate to most change across different areas. Apart from the city centre and metropolitan centres like Takapuna, typical town and local centres are likely to include 4- to 6-storey buildings.
580_ Auckland’s neighbourhoods will be the focus of varying degrees of suburban intensification. In particular, neighbourhoods that have the potential for viable intensification due to good amenity and accessibility, and where there is physical and social infrastructure capacity, are highlighted within the Development Strategy as areas for change (see Maps D.1 and D.2). Neighbourhoods will increasingly provide a mix of housing types to meet people’s changing needs over their lifetime (see Priority 1 above).
581_ Neighbourhoods are important not just for the physical environment they provide, but also for the social networks they support. Developing Auckland’s neighbourhoods as distinctive places will contribute to residents’ sense of identity, place, and pride in their community. Increasing the density of housing in a neighbourhood also supports the provision of new and better services. A design-led approach, as outlined in Priority 2 above, will be employed in any transition towards a higher-density environment. This would consider factors that can improve neighbourhoods, such as planting street trees, calming traffic, establishing walk/cycleways and connections, and restructuring streets and public spaces to facilitate centre development, new parks, housing intensification, and safe, attractive streets. Figure 10.4 emphasises some of the benefits of higher-density neighbourhoods as opposed to more dispersed, lower-density areas.
582_ Auckland’s network of centres will accommodate future population and employment growth. Centres provide focal points for communities at different geographical scales, foster economic activity and business productivity, create higher-density clusters of jobs, support the public transport system and maximise investment in infrastructure. The growth of higher-density housing in and around centres provides a population base to sustain businesses and community facilities. A centre is a defined area that comprises a concentrated mix of activities, and is supported by a surrounding residential area that is within an easy walking distance, as shown in Figure 10.5.
583_ Auckland’s urban centres are classified according to their existing and future role and function. The range of urban centres in Auckland is described in the hierarchy outlined in Box 10.3, which is presented as a network of centres in Map 10.1 and in more detail in Table 10.1.
BOX 10.3 Urban Centres’ Hierarchy
The City Centre – the focus of national and international business, tourism, educational, cultural and civic activities. It provides significant capacity for business and high density residential development within a variety of precincts. It is the focus for regional transportation services. It is surrounded by the city fringe, and lies within a 2km walkable catchment (approximately): it provides complementary living, business and entertainment activities within traditional and higher-density neighbourhood living and specialist precincts.
Metropolitan centres – these serve regional catchments or have strategic roles within the region. They provide a diverse range of shopping, business, cultural, entertainment and leisure activities, together with higher-density residential and mixed-use environments. They have good transport access and are served by igh-frequency public transportation. These centres have the greatest opportunities for additional business and residential growth.
Town centres – these act as local hubs for communities, providing a wide range of retail and business services and facilities, and community facilities. They are generally accessible by frequent public transport services, and provide a range of residential living options, including mixed-use and higher-density options. They have variable capacity for accommodating new residential and business development.
Local centres – these act as a focus for a community and provide a range of convenience shops and small business services together with some community facilities. These centres are focused on walkable catchments supported by public transport services. They have variable capacity for accommodating new residential and business development, but to a lesser extent to town centres, due to their individual and accessibility constraints.
Neighbourhood centres – these provide day-to-day convenience shopping within walkable neighbourhoods. Based on a small group of shops, they may also be aligned with a community facility, such as a school.
Note: Satellite towns, rural and coastal towns, and rural and coastal villages have urban characteristics within the rural area. See Chapter 9: Rural Auckland for descriptions of each.
584_ The hierarchy also identifies emergent centres, which are those that are either in a formative stage of development or require significant change through redevelopment to support their transition to more intensive, mixed-use centres. The emergent category is an overlay used in conjunction with other classifications for metropolitan, town and local centres.
585_ Over the 30-year period of the Plan there will be considerable changes to many of Auckland’s centres, particularly those that have the greatest development potential. These centres need strong planning frameworks to guide their development, and against which to monitor their progress. Table 10.1 highlights emergent centres, including those that may have started as shopping malls, where planning needs to focus on guiding future development towards a form which supports a greater range of attributes for that centre type.
586_ All centres perform an important role as a focus for the community they serve. However, different interventions are required to reach the potential of each centre. The following categories reflect the degree of intervention necessary to realise the development opportunity within a given centre (also see Table 10.1 and Chapter 14: Implementation Framework).
- Regeneration centres – centres that require a mix of public sector actions to address economic, social and physical inequalities
- Market-attractive centres – centres where there is strong market potential for growth, and which require limited public sector support.
587_ Where character, heritage and/or environmental constraints limit growth within particular centres (usually in local centres), these are not prioritised for growth and/or transformation. The centres, associated suburbs and places that are prioritised in the first three years include:
- The City Centre
- The Southern Initiative
- Hobsonville/ Westgate, Massey North
- New Lynn
- Onehunga (see Box 10.4)
City Centre Masterplan
An Auckland City Centre Masterplan has been developed to guide the transformation of the city centre and to maximise its potential. A Waterfront Masterplan has also been prepared to realise that area’s development opportunities (see the end of this chapter for further details). The Masterplan supports the role and function of the City Centre as Auckland’s pre-eminent hub for office-based employment and business and financial services.
588_ New retail and office activities are focused in centres. It is expected that new malls and large format retail activities will locate in centres; they will be designed to integrate with other centre activities, and contribute to the ‘place-making’ of the centre (see Box 10.1). Retail draws people to centres, and is critical in retaining and attracting other activities. There must be sufficient development capacity in centres to accommodate commercial growth, and to support the centres’ network. Proposals for out-of-centre commercial activity will be considered, using criteria in the Unitary Plan.
589_ The network of centres is important for fostering economic activity and clustering commercial activity, and within this network the metropolitan centres have the strongest emphasis on business activity. Their scale provides opportunities for specialisation or strategic roles, and distinctive precincts. In contrast, the emphasis for local centres is to provide local services within a walkable catchment.
Strengthen Auckland’s network of metropolitan, town, local and neighbourhood centres so they are well-connected and meet community needs for jobs, housing, and goods and services, at a variety of scales. Auckland’s network of centres will:
be the primary focus for retail and other commercial activity, providing a wide range of outlets in a competitive environment, while limiting out-of-centre retail and office development
accommodate an increase in the density and diversity of housing in and around centres
develop sufficient scale, intensity and land-use mix (appropriate to a centre’s position in the hierarchy) to support high-frequency public transport
concentrate activities which generate a high number of trips
maximise access by walking, cycling and public transport and support a reduction of car trips
be attractive, mixed-use environments with high-quality public spaces.
590_ In addition to centres, Auckland has a number of key business areas that provide opportunities to accommodate and intensify future business and employment growth (see Chapter 6: Auckland’s Economy for employment growth projections). These areas complement the activities in centres and provide a strong contribution to Auckland’s employment base, which should be safeguarded for business activity (see Map 10.1). A strategic classification of the broad business and employment areas outside centres includes:
- heavy industry
- light industry (including production, distribution and trade activities)
- business parks (with an emphasis on office and commercial activities)
- special activity areas (including a range of activities from airports, government facilities and infrastructure, to health and education).
591_ Future growth and intensification of business activity should make the most efficient use of land available in the existing centres and business areas, and support improvements to local transport accessibility, especially by public transport. The trip-generating potential of business and employment activity should be managed to ensure minimal impact on local communities and the environment.
Develop and manage business areas to complement centres, without undermining their role and function in the centres’ network, and to provide for a diversity of opportunities for business and employment growth.
592_ In an increasingly competitive global economy where cities seek to attract high-technology and knowledge-based activities, campus-style business parks that provide locations to accommodate office, research and development, and warehousing enterprises are attractive. In particular, large concentrations of such businesses can foster innovation and agglomeration economies. Auckland already has some established business parks and any future provision should build on these and integrate them into the existing urban environment.
Business park development should promote clusters of technology and innovation, and meet the following criteria:
excellent access to public transport (preferably high-frequency networks)
necessary access to freight routes and terminals
locational relationships with other relevant economic infrastructure (such as the airport, ports, universities, technical and research institutes, hospitals, recreational or cultural facilities, or clusters of knowledge-based and entrepreneurial activity)
integration with established centres and residential areas
excellent proximity to the workforce (within 30 minutes’ commuting time)
suitable land size to support business park functions (≥ 30ha)
necessary facilities to support employees (such as cafés, outdoor seating and open space).
593_ While each centre is unique, Table 10.1 identifies the strategic classification of each centre, and Table 10.2 outlines a set of shared key attributes that are generally applicable to the different types of centres. It is not intended that every centre will have all the attributes listed.
594_ This information should be read alongside Chapter 9: Rural Auckland, which outlines the rural centres’ classification.
THE CITY CENTRE
CREATE A STUNNING AND ECONOMICALLY DYNAMIC CITY CENTRE FULL OF LIFE AND ACTIVITY THAT RESIDENTS CAN CALL THEIR HOME AND BUSINESSES AND VISITORS FLOCK TO.
595_ Successful cities have strong centres, and the City Centre plays a pivotal role in Auckland’s present and future success (see Chapter 6: Auckland’s Economy).
596_ The City Centre Masterplan supports the Auckland Plan’s vision of the world’s most liveable city, and of a significant increase in population living within, and commuting to and from the City Centre. It will expand the transport network to suit this purpose, by making the City Centre a highly desirable place to live, work, and invest in, and by adding to Auckland’s identity and vibrancy.
597_ The City Centre should be for everyone: a place where people feel welcome and comfortable; a place where there is a strong and inclusive community; where people can access social activities; and where their culture is reflected in the physical and social environment.
598_ The City Centre Masterplan provides a 20-year transformational direction for the future of the City Centre. This direction consists of the following key moves:
Move 1: Uniting the Waterfront with the City Centre – the Harbour Edge
Move 2: Connecting the Western Edge of the City to the Centre – the East-West Stitch
Move 3: Queen Street Valley, the CBD and Retail District – the Engine Room
Move 4: Nurturing the Innovation and Learning Cradle
Move 5: New Public Transport Stations and Development Opportunities at Karangahape Road, Newton and Aotea Quarter – Growth and the City Rail Link
Move 6: Connecting Victoria Park, Albert Park and the Domain with the Waterfront as part of a blue-green network – the Green Link
Move 7: Connecting the City and the Fringe – City to the Villages
Move 8: Revitalising the Waterfront – Water City
599_ Masterplan objectives include improving the amenity of the City. A successful centre has great amenity and choices for residents, workers and visitors, and attracts an increasing number of businesses, employees and households. While improving technologies enable us to work remotely, paradoxically, research shows the benefits of spatial proximity. The agglomeration effects of more businesses and people will lift the productivity of the City Centre. A productive City Centre, as the pre-eminent hub for office-based employment and business and financial services, means a productive Auckland.
600_ Intensified use of the ’Engine room’ and waterfront land, intensified land use within 800 metres of the proposed City Rail Link stations (Aotea, Karangahape Road and Newton), and an increased number of people employed (from 55,000 to 70,000) in central locations will reduce congestion. This will lift living standards and business productivity.
601_ In addition, the long-term strategy for unlocking the potential of the waterfront is detailed in the Waterfront Plan, prepared by Waterfront Auckland, which is a companion document to the City Centre Masterplan.
602_ The waterfront is an area rich in character and activities that link people to the city and the sea. As a place for all people, the Waterfront Plan envisages a world-class destination that excites the senses and celebrates our sea-loving Polynesian culture and maritime history. It aims to achieve this through five specific goals:
- a public waterfront
- a smart working waterfront
- a green-blue waterfront
- a connected waterfront
- a liveable waterfront.
603_ The Waterfront Plan contains a number of projects and initiatives to achieve these goals. These include a pedestrian walkway and cycleway, improved ferry services and development of a low-impact waterfront transit service, development of land and water space for the marine, fishing and cruise industries, support for innovative and creative businesses, and new public spaces such as Headland Park, a 4.2ha open space on Wynyard Point.