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Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, features as one of the top ten cities in the world for both the Mercer Quality of Living Survey and Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Livability Report but in June 2012, for the first time in the metropolitan area’s history, Auckland adopted a long-term plan, which sets the strategic direction of Auckland for the next 30 years. Auckland’s vision is to become the world’s most liveable city and the Auckland Plan lays out in specific detail how this goal will be achieved, including how the city will accommodate a projected one million extra people by 2040, as well as plans for the construction of the 400,000 new homes required to house them.

 

Auckland’s challenges

Auckland will face several critical challenges over the next 30 years, including:

  • population growth and demographic change
  • housing availability and affordability
  • climate change and energy security
  • international economic competitiveness
  • social and economic inequalities
  • environmental quality
  • infrastructure planning, provision and funding.

 

The Plan

The Auckland Plan is explicit in its ambition to help transform Auckland into the world’s most liveable city over the next 30 years. In order to achieve this ambition, the Plan asserts that Auckland must make transformational shifts. Of all the important changes they need to make, seven outcomes stand out as being most critical

  • A fair, safe and healthy Auckland
  • A green Auckland
  • An Auckland of prosperity and opportunity
  • A well connected and accessible Auckland
  • A beautiful Auckland loved by its people
  • A culturally rich and creative Auckland
  • A Maori identity that is Auckland’s point of different in the world

 

The development of the Plan has been all-inclusive, taking into the account the views and feedback of Auckland residents, community groups, infrastructure providers, central government, iwi, business groups and voluntary organisations.

 

Two allied plans have been developed to provide additional detail on key priorities:

  • Economic Development Strategy. Auckland has challenges it must overcome to succeed economically. Amongst the challenges are the country’s geographical remoteness, relatively small economy, and many small-scale businesses. These factors limit access to ideas, knowledge, networks and technology.  For Auckland to be the world’s most liveable city it needs to be underpinned by an internationally competitive, prosperous economy that all Aucklanders can benefit from and participate in. Auckland’s Economic Development Strategy sets out the tangible steps Auckland will follow to make this happen over the next ten years and identifies three key annual economic targets:

» a 6% plus increase in regional exports
» a 5% plus increase in real GDP
» a 2% plus increase in productivity growth

  • The Auckland City Centre Masterplan focuses on the city centre as the cultural, civic, retail and economic heart of the city.   Underpinning the plan is a focus on a range of projects that will make the city centre more family, pedestrian and environmentally-friendly including a green link linear park along one of its busy city roads. These projects focus on creating a stunning city centre to unlock its full potential to be one of the world’s premier business locations, the heart and ‘Engine Room’ of Auckland and the world’s most liveable city.

 

Implementation has started ! Since the adoption of the Auckland Plan

  • Funding for key projects has been approved for the next ten years in the council’s Long-term Plan – including NZ$130 million for the City Centre Masterplan and funding for a new cruise liner terminal that will help to further enliven activity on the city’s waterfront.
  • Auckland Council and the New Zealand government have signed an agreement to create New Zealand’s first urban redevelopment company – the Tamaki Redevelopment Company.
  • A new fleet of 57 electric trains has been commissioned and Aucklanders will see the electric first train on the tracks within a year.  The Mayor’s aim is to double the number of Aucklanders using public transport within 10 years.

 

The economic development strategy has already started to deliver on its aims including:

  • the rollout of fast broadband,
  • development of the Wynyard Quarter (an area of places and spaces right next to the water’s edge for the public to enjoy)
  • the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Arterial Initiative (whose aim is to give residents greater transport choices by improving public transport, walking and cycling facilities and reducing traffic congestion)
  • the Southern Initiative which aims to improve outcomes for  south Aucklanders.

 

‘The Auckland economy grew at a rate of 2.1 per cent over the last 12 months.  While this is not particularly glamorous in its own right (Auckland’s ten year average is 2.5%), against a backdrop of a European sovereign debt crisis, a double dip recession for the UK, stuttering growth for Germany and a reduced growth outlook for China, it looks rather more attractive.’

  • Delivery of the City Centre Masterplan is already in progress including the adoption of more ‘shared space’ streets in the city centre – where pedestrians and vehicles have the right of way over vehicles and there is no long-term parking.  A detailed Evaluation Report of just such a street that was upgraded this time last year in Auckland’s city centre showed a drop in vehicle speed by 25%, an increase in peak hours of foot traffic by 50% and a 400% increase in hospitality spend.

 

So Auckland has found its path to the future. For sheer ambition and remarkable speed in preparation this City Plan will achieve global recognition.

 

Learn more about Auckland’s plans and strategies

 

Image credit : Photobank gallery



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