Saturday, February 28, 2009

How to urbanise Auckland's sub-urbs


All this talk of intensification and compact development for Auckland. All this analysis of why Auckland's Growth strategy is not being delivered on the ground. All the reports exorting politicians to release land for more development at the edges. Cheaper houses for everybody. And on and on.

But what about the existing suburbs? Auckland is full of truly sub-urban development. Less than urban. More than rural, but less than urban. Conurbations of people in cul-de-sacs, dead worm streets. Urban design for cars, but not for good urban living.

These sub-urban areas of Auckland are where you MUST drive to do anything. Pretty much. Get a paper, some milk, go to work, get to primary school or kindy, find a community service, get a coffee. And you have to drive 2 or 3 kilometres. And you wouldn't send the kids on their bikes because it's too far, too dangerous...

We need a strategy to urbanise Auckland's suburbs. While we plan for future development, we need to plan for the future of existing development.

We need thinking and options for this. It might include a zone change to allow amalgamation of a couple of lots to provide a shop, with a home above. Or something a bit more mixed. The shop or service might need a bit of subsidy, because to begin with it might not be economic. But surely it is better to plan for and think about how the sub-urbs will survive, when fuel and driving becomes too expensive. When transport costs become too big for the household budget.

Sub-urban communities will have ideas about this. It's about bringing in some urban amenity.

1 comment:

Joshua said...

A few easy things to do:

1) Remove the 'units-per-site' fundamental restriction on development density. Planning rules should be based around controlling building height, building footprint and heights-to-boundary. This would allow the division of many large existing houses into smaller units, improving housing affordability.

2) All councils to adopt Waitakere City Council's policy of providing for medium density housing as a Discretionary Activity on all sites within 400m of a train station (800m for larger urban centres) or those sites on frequent bus routes.

3) Remove minimum parking provision requirements from all residential development. This encourages a more efficient use of space and encourages public transport use.

These are just a start, of course, but certainly would make a difference.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

How to urbanise Auckland's sub-urbs


All this talk of intensification and compact development for Auckland. All this analysis of why Auckland's Growth strategy is not being delivered on the ground. All the reports exorting politicians to release land for more development at the edges. Cheaper houses for everybody. And on and on.

But what about the existing suburbs? Auckland is full of truly sub-urban development. Less than urban. More than rural, but less than urban. Conurbations of people in cul-de-sacs, dead worm streets. Urban design for cars, but not for good urban living.

These sub-urban areas of Auckland are where you MUST drive to do anything. Pretty much. Get a paper, some milk, go to work, get to primary school or kindy, find a community service, get a coffee. And you have to drive 2 or 3 kilometres. And you wouldn't send the kids on their bikes because it's too far, too dangerous...

We need a strategy to urbanise Auckland's suburbs. While we plan for future development, we need to plan for the future of existing development.

We need thinking and options for this. It might include a zone change to allow amalgamation of a couple of lots to provide a shop, with a home above. Or something a bit more mixed. The shop or service might need a bit of subsidy, because to begin with it might not be economic. But surely it is better to plan for and think about how the sub-urbs will survive, when fuel and driving becomes too expensive. When transport costs become too big for the household budget.

Sub-urban communities will have ideas about this. It's about bringing in some urban amenity.

1 comment:

Joshua said...

A few easy things to do:

1) Remove the 'units-per-site' fundamental restriction on development density. Planning rules should be based around controlling building height, building footprint and heights-to-boundary. This would allow the division of many large existing houses into smaller units, improving housing affordability.

2) All councils to adopt Waitakere City Council's policy of providing for medium density housing as a Discretionary Activity on all sites within 400m of a train station (800m for larger urban centres) or those sites on frequent bus routes.

3) Remove minimum parking provision requirements from all residential development. This encourages a more efficient use of space and encourages public transport use.

These are just a start, of course, but certainly would make a difference.