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Entertained, enlightened, educated and invigorated

Fresh from his success at the UDF sponsored Christchurch event, Gil Penalosa presented 8, 80 Cities at Auckland Conversations on Tuesday 5th July

  • 13 July 2016
  • Author: Duncan Ecob
  • Number of views: 81
Entertained, enlightened, educated and invigorated

Dealing with a wide range of topics from equity (not equality) through the dignity of walking and cycling, to designing cities for people not cars Gil covered a variety of issues that are facing Auckland now and challenged us to not be complacent.

Having been a commissioner in Bogota he warned of the peril of the CAVE people (citizens against virtually everything) and of ‘keeping on doing the same thing’.

He had 8 messages for Auckland
1. Change is hard. (Doing what you are doing now, is easy)
2. Don’t be complacent. You may think you are great but you are probably just good! Copenhagen is recognised as a world leader in cycle infrastructure with 41% of trips by bicycle. But they are striving for 50% (and then what)
3. Design for all ages and all abilities. Would you send your 8 year old out to this world or your 80 year old?
4. Equity not equality – some need more than others, don’t give everyone the same. Some disadvantaged need more help. How you treat the most vulnerable is a reflection of the city.  One neighbourhood may have more than it needs, deficient neighbourhoods need attention and respect!
5. Play everywhere. It is for all ages and is a learning and communal experience for all
6. Walk.  Plan for it and make it a priority. Birds fly, fish swim, people walk. Even if it is only at the start or end of the journey (or between L1 and L2)
7. Sustainable mobility. Public transport integrated with walking and cycling. A great city is where the rich use PT
8. Community is the expert. Consultation and engagement is key before the experts get involved. The community knows what works for them. Experts can deliver and design it for them
9. Benefits.  Always tell people about the good aspects of walking, cycling and pt. and make this about outputs, outcomes and impacts.  (quality open space = more people encouraged to use it = improved health and longer lives)
And a final message

For those that missed it it is now on the  AKLconversations website as audio

Link to the RadioNZ interview:

Christchurch articles following Gil's visit:


Proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity

Submissions close 15 July 2016

  • 23 June 2016
  • Author: The Editor
  • Number of views: 227
The Government has issued the much anticipated Proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity

Proposed national policy statement on urban development capacity: consultation document (pdf)
Submissions close at 5pm on 15 July 2016.

Purpose of the proposed NPS-UDC
The purpose of the proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity (NPS-UDC) is to ensure regional and district plans provide adequately for the development of business and housing. This is to enable urban areas to grow and change in response to the needs of their communities.

If made operative, the NPS-UDC would be supported by guidance for local authorities on how to implement it.

Visit website

Landscape Architecture Aotearoa E-Magazine

NZILA's e-magazine Issue 1 Winter 2016

  • 23 June 2016
  • Author: The Editor
  • Number of views: 86
Included in this edition:
Urban Opinion: New Typologies
On the Cover: Porirua Revitalises
Legal Commentary: The Desktop Dilemma
Plant Guide: Shade-Tolerant


Read Issue 01: Landscape Architecture Aotearoa E-Magazine

The stars are aligned…

Graeme Scott's Radio NZ interview

  • 23 May 2016
  • Author: Graeme Scott
  • Number of views: 384
The stars are aligned…
For better or worse, we now have cross-party agreement that Auckland’s proposed rural-urban-boundary is a bad idea.

Supposedly responsible for escalating residential land prices, it now looks unlikely to be included in the Independent 

Hearing Panel’s recommendations to Council.  That of course begs several important questions, such as:

Will the outward expansion be satellite cities, planned communities, or just ordinary sprawl?
Who will pay to install services in the vast areas envisaged to be opened up thereby reducing price?
How will transport be organised in the new areas, or will we just build roads?

Anyway, the announcement by the Labour party last week triggered this interview on National Radio between chairman Graeme Scott and Jesse Mulligan. 

Housing supply: it’s complicated

  • 13 April 2016
  • Author: Graeme Scott
  • Number of views: 617
Housing supply: it’s complicated

Respected business commentator, Brian Gaynor, writing in the NZ Herald on 2 April 2016, examines the changing role of banks over the last 30 or so years.  He outlines the history of banking deregulation and the subsequent massive rise in residential lending, from less than one billion dollars in 1984 to $211B this year.

His conclusion that “aggressive bank lending has been a major contributor to the sustained rise in house prices over the past few decades” adds yet another ingredient into the complex mix affecting housing supply.

Together with economists’ frequent references to our favoured tax treatment of houses, the growing view of houses as investment products rather than homes, the anecdotal evidence of dwellings standing empty in Auckland, and the significant proportion of the building industry being diverted into reconstructing leaky buildings, it’s a rich mix that warrants some serious attention from the government.

How disappointing, then, to read the Productivity Commission’s view that “planning has massively increased the price of urban land by not zoning and servicing enough land for new housing”, (NBR 15 January 2016) with only a passing reference to the multitude of other factors involved.

To be fair, the topic they’re investigating is urban planning, but their airy dismissal of the “many reasons why house prices have grown” is very frustrating.

However, in our submission to them, we stuck to our field of expertise and avoided politically fraught topics – you can read it here.  Many thanks to all those who contributed.

If you’re really stuck for something to do, you could read all the submissions at

In their submission, Sir Geoffery Palmer and Dr Roger Blakeley, noting the government’s current multi-headed interest in planning and urban design, went on to say “At the very least, those stakeholders with an interest in planning will suffer from submission fatigue.  Three sets of submissions on related, but not identical, topics are due almost at the same time.
This is a recipe for confusion and policy train wreck. Serious resources need to be brought to a topic like this, and to balkanize the policy resources of a small country in three separate efforts seems both unwise and profligate.”

We can all agree with that!


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