"…the question arises as to whether or not there should be some form of public life or culture, accessible to all local citizens of the city; and if so, how this can be stimulated by local policies. This last question is particularly relevant in local politics. Is the city a product to be sold on the tourism market and/or as a location in which to invest money? Or is a city a place to live, where people can express themselves, even if it is in terms of resistance to, rather than rejoicing in, the dominant culture?...." (Bramham et al 1989)"The debate is beginning again in Auckland about the opportunities and challenges that arise with the looming possibility of Team NZ winning the America's Cup. I wrote about this three weeks ago - which was quoted in NZ Herald's City urged to get shipshape article. And Rudman wrote last week: "Minor detail of winning aside, revamped waterfront has everything needed for hosting a world-class defence..."
The America's Cup event itself may not be big enough to be classified as a Mega Event (like the Olympics or the FA Cup or - perhaps - the Rugby World Cup). Mega-events have played a major role in the growth of tourism in Australia. The Rugby World Cup was seen as a tourism industry catalyst event in New Zealand. Internationally, Mega-events have been a major tool with which to encourage urban redevelopment and re-imaging or re-branding of cities.
Maybe having the America's Cup in Auckland again would consolidate and confirm the old and slightly rusty "City of Sails" brand which needs a bit of a polish. It would also consolidate the idea that Auckland is a Harbour Edge City - a bigger and more encompassing vision than only being a Port City.
So what sort of planning might be needed? Chadwick states "that planning is a process, a process of human thought and action based upon that thought - in point of fact, forethought, thought for the future - nothing more or less than this is planning, which is a very general human activity....". Which doesn't get us very far. Hall says "planning should aim to provide a resource for democratic and informed decision-making. This is all planning can legitimately do, and all it can pretend to do...." Which introduces the idea that planning decisions should be "informed" and "democratic".
Thinking about event planning in terms of tourism in the broadest sense, Getz (1987) and Hall identify five broad traditions or approaches to tourism planning:
- an economic, industry-oriented approach,
- a physical/spatial approach,
- a community-oriented approach which emphasises the role that the destination community plays in the tourism experience,
- sustainable tourism (like 100% pure)
Not only would Auckland be hosting an event which lasts a few weeks - Auckland would be hosting a whole sub-culture, industry, economy and supporting population for a year. This would add to Auckland's appeal as a visitor destination - and by "visitor" I am including and emphasising visits by Aucklanders and Kiwis. I say this because there is a tendency to talk up the benefits of overseas tourism, or cruise ship tourism - which I support - but not to the exclusion of local tourism. Local community development.
When Auckland had the big Rugby World Cup days, those numbers, the hundred thousand plus who turned up on the waterfront, were mainly Aucklanders. That is the kind of interest and energy that needs to be tapped into, and attracted to the waterfront, through the planning for this next America's Cup event.
I agree there is some useful waterfront infrastructure now that we didn't have last time. We have Queens Wharf and Shed 10 (and the Cloud I know). And we have Wynyard Quarter - especially North Wharf - and we have Viaduct Events Centre. And we have the immense potential of Wynyard Point (where the tanks are), and the long stretch of Wynyard Wharf.
These places are full of potential. And the America's Cup presents an opportunity to tap into these assets and develop them - perhaps temporarily, perhaps for the long term.
But if Auckland is to become a Harbour Edge City - and this can be an event to build on that idea - then a planning decision might be to "share the love". A syndicate might choose to locate in Devonport Navy Base. I'm sure the Navy'd love to be asked. Open for tourism. A syndicate could choose to locate on Marsden Wharf or Captain Cook Wharf or both. After discussion with Ports of Auckland.
Hobsonville Point is screaming out for something like this. Room for a couple of syndicates there. The more secretive ones perhaps. Close to the struggling marine industry cluster there.
And how about Mechanics Bay. Could we fit one in there?
I've mentioned in another posting the possibility of having some/all races within the Waitemata Harbour. I know - it's only an idea. This sort of location for this event can become the trigger or catalyst for Harbour Edge infrastructure initiatives that tie in with the actual event (rather than hosting), and improve Harbour Edge parks and public viewing points, and add to existing Harbour Edge cycle infrastructure (for example there is a developed cyclepath now through Westhaven - along that section of the Harbour Edge. This screams out to be connected along Tamaki Drive, and onto Skypath and across the Harbour Bridge which might be a viewing platform - part of the Arena that Waitemata could become for the event, and then become part of Auckland's public waterfront furniture.
But something has been lost since the grand planning that went with the previous America's Cup. Then Auckland had the robust and well organised Auckland Regional Services Trust which owned the Port and various other waterfront assets and was able to plan and coordinate projects in an integrated way. It could also rely on a focussed Auckland City Council and an Auckland Regional Council employing the Harbour Master and focussed on the Harbour Edge and regulation of marine water spaces.
Institutions and responsibilities have become fragmented since the supercity organisation. For example the Waterfront Development Agency is expected to focus on Westhaven to Queens Wharf - skip the Port - and then a little bit of Mechanics Bay. The Port, while sometimes behaving as a law unto itself, is owned and presumably managed by the Council CCO Auckland Council Investments Limited (ACIL). And the Harbour Edge itself is governed by Auckland Council - which is totally distracted with Unitary Planning, Spatial Planning, Annual Planning and managing debt.
If Auckland genuinely wants to move toward being a Harbour Edge City then it needs to develop the institution that can plan and manage that transition. In the past Auckland has had the Auckland Harbour Board (AHB) which had a range of objectives. But in the 1980's this was converted into the Ports of Auckland Ltd whose main objective was "to be a successful business". AHB's other objectives were either set aside or relegated to the Auckland Regional Council which has now been abolished.
Consideration needs to be given to expanding the powers and jurisdiction of the Waterfront Development Agency (WDA). It has shown it is capable of planning events and development and infrastructure in its part of Auckland's waterfront. In that regard I'd agree with Rudman, and that we can build on what we have already. How about WDA becoming the Waitemata Planning and Development Authority?
I read in the media that McCully and Key are turning their minds to what Government might do with the America's Cup. That's good. But it has often been the case that the attention of government to the potential economic benefits of tourism can itself become the major driving force for planning. The result has often been 'top-down planning and promotion that leaves destination communities with little input or control over their own destinies' (Murphy 1985 153). Attention is gradually becoming focused within academic discussion of tourism planning on the need to integrate social and environmental concerns into the economic thrust of much tourism and event planning development.
What Auckland needs is waterfront planning that is an integrated process, based on careful research and evaluation, which seeks to optimize the potential contribution of the America's Cup opportunity to citizen welfare and environmental quality - not only GDP.
Chadwick, G. (1971) A Systems View of Planning. Oxford: Pergamon Press.
Getz, D. (1987) Tourism Planning and Research: Traditions, Models andFutures. Paper presented at The Australian Travel Research Workshop,Bunbury, Western Australia, November 5-6.
Hall, C.M. (1994) Tourism and Politics: Policy, Power and Place. London JohnWiley.
Hall, C.M. (1995) Introduction to Tourism in Australia: Impacts, Planning andDevelopment , 2nd ed. South Melbourne Longman Australia
Murphy, P. (1985) Tourism: a Community Approach. New York and LondonMethuen.
Murphy, P. (1994) Tourism and sustainable development, in W. Theobald, (ed) Global Tourism: The Next Decade. Oxford Butterworth Heinemann 274-290.