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Massive mixed use regeneration proposed for prime waterfront land half way between the city and the airport

Quiz time. Guess which part of the city is being referred to

  • 20 June 2017
  • Author: Alistair Ray
  • Number of views: 185
  • 0 Comments
Massive mixed use regeneration proposed for prime waterfront land half way between the city and the airport
Almost exactly half-way between the airport and the CBD – less than 10km to each.
Largely flat, or gently sloping, bounded on its southern edge by water, with several kilometres of water frontage (admittedly the water is to the south, but still, any views over water are now regarded as good from a real estate perspective).
An important part of the city’s historic fabric, with part of the site the location for what was once the city’s busiest port and working waterfront. 
Well served by rapid (non-road based) transit.
Also well connected by road, sitting right next to the city’s motorway network, including one of the city’s major water crossings.
Over 100 hectares of relatively low density employment (industrial, service and distribution) that does not really need to be next to the water, or utilises the rapid transit.

Can you guess where it is yet?
Given the above characteristics, it is perhaps no surprise that the area has been the subject of some major strategic planning exercises, and also no surprise that the conclusion is that the land is perfectly suited to a massive mixed use urban regeneration project! What? Are we making this up?


The project is described as follows:

Auckland's Midtown Bus Route

Victoria Street Linear Park

  • 1 May 2017
  • Author: Duncan Ecob
  • Number of views: 213
  • 0 Comments
Auckland's Midtown Bus Route
UDF recently responded to the AT consultation on the Mid Town Bus Route which has three options for the routes. 

The UDF response, below, calls for the retention of Victoria Street Linear park as one of the 2012 City Centre Masterplans Transformational Projects, and option 2 met this more clearly than the others.  Others have written about the Linear park most notably Generation Zero and Greater Auckland   

https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2017/04/21/guest-post-battle-victoria-street/
and The Stuff
http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/91748034/Aucklands-future-green-link-in-jeopardy

Sources tell us that over 1600 responses supported option 2.  We look forward to seeing the full response from AT in the very near future

As a central focus to the City Centre Masterplan, the concept of the Victoria Street Linear Park must be a significant element in deciding on the Midtown Bus route. The importance of the Linear Park to the burgeoning city centre as a place to do business, live, learn and play, for all ages from 8-80 must not be compromised. Only Option Two accommodates the concept of the Linear Park successfully.
 
Good urban design, as promoted by the Urban Design Forum, recognises the challenegs that need to be addressed and balanced in complex urban environments with a focus on high quality urban environemnts which are people focused. Linking Victoria and Albert Parks with an iconic public realm, the Linear Park will be one of the most important statements that the City can make about its citizens
 
         He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
        It is the people, it is the people, it is the people
 
The Linear Park will be a real and tangible declaration that Auckland takes the Te Aranga Principles of the Design Manual both seriously and as an embedded approach to all development that the Council is responsible for. Such a stament will have wide reaching effects well beyond the City Centre.
 
The Linear Park will bring significant value and benefits to the City Centre in many ways . It will provide economic opportunities to businesses in the immediate area through the 'sense of place' it will bring and provide the physical and mental health benefits to the new residents that the centre is attracting.  As an iconic walking experience it will also contribute to addressing air and water quality and by creating a good walking environment will attract more people which in turn benefits the businesses of the area.
 
We urge you to make the Linear Park the number one priority in deciding on the Midtown Bus Route.
 
There are other details I can pick up on such making all junctions more pedestrian focus (e.g. Oxford Circus London http://www.atkinsglobal.com/en-gb/projects/oxford-circus-diagonal-crossing ) that all the bus facilities need to be safe, secure, accessible (ability, age and senses) plus informative and entertaining

and then specific detail e.g. as the Wellesley / Sale Street junction,

Will Thresher muses on transport and other issues

  • 4 April 2017
  • Author: Will Thresher
  • Number of views: 238
  • 0 Comments
Will Thresher muses on transport and other issues
A few things that caught my interest over the last week or so. 
 
Bob Dey provided a heads up on the OECD’s state of the (environmental) nation review 
 
Having teased with this summary comment on the Urban Planning findings:
•         “broadening the scope of the national policy statement on urban development capacity to encourage good urban design outcomes & principles for sustainable urban development, …”
 
I was compelled to take a closer look at the document itself. The report discussions dense v. compact … and infrastructure ... (and urban planning a little bit).
 
It says: The review also looks at New Zealand’s fast-growing cities and suggests that a simpler urban planning system, less restrictive land-use regulations and better co-ordination between land, transport and infrastructure planning could help ease the pressure.
 
All of which made me curious - how were we doing with recent transport and infrastructure and planning - transport infrastructure in particular? 
 
A clutch of Transportblog stories helped enlighten me. 
 
On the subject of motorway infrastructure the Waterview tunnels shortly come into service however news that they will need light controls was a surprise , while perhaps the opportunity missed to provide continuous busways along SH16 was more predictable. Having said that, the urgent need for unanticipated SH20 widenings and local road improvements is another cause for at least mild astonishment - comments about the basis of running cost comparisons also make interesting reading. 
 
Miscalculations appear not to be limited to Auckland with Tauranga’s TEL provoking different questions.
 
On the enthusiastic adoption of (public) transport infrastructures (once provided) Auckland February public transport ridership is increasing beyond an average 200,000 bus and 70,000 rail boardings per day . How has your Mad March been?
 
What have we learned? Thinking about SH16 it has to be a concern if public transport connections are not optimised or created when transport links are at the planning stage. Looking at you NCI  and you EWL .
 
Good news that the need for a City Centre-Airport transit connection is

Linking houses prices to income, forever!

Community Land Trusts, a collaboration to help deal with the housing crisis?

  • 25 January 2017
  • Author: Duncan Ecob
  • Number of views: 569
  • 0 Comments
The approach to the Auckland housing crisis will need a variety of methods to be resolved.  Whilst most will look to the private and government sectors to supply new homes to meet the demand there is a ‘Third Sector’ approach that has its roots in the 1960’s American civil right movement, Community Land Trusts, (CLT).  In the  USA the largest CLT has over 2000 homes and over the last decade CLTs has found increasing and popular support in the UK. 

CLT’s are set up and run by the community with the (UK) legal definition1

…. to further the social, economic and environmental interests of their communities, and be democratically accountable to their communities’  

These objectives are very similar to those of many levels local authorities and are often seen as a community vehicle to deliver affordable homes.  One of the strengths of the CLTs is that they are able to deliver affordable homes in perpetuity by linking the sale price to the local wage level and selling them at a much lower level than the local market price.  A condition of the sale is that any future sale price remains pegged to local earnings, forgoing the potential windfalls of the property lottery.  This is very different to the ‘right to buy’ of local authority housing which removes the bought property from the affordable and social housing markets.

How they can sell homes at a “wage related affordable cost” is related to the acquisition of the land at low to zero cost.   The land that CLTs use for development is surplus Local Authority or  government land  which is often sold to help ‘ balance the books’.  But the authorities are not obliged to sell to the highest bidder rather   to dispose of their land on the basis of the “best consideration” reasonably obtainable, which should take into account long-term value. Social and economic benefits can justify the sale of land below market price –  by working with CLT’s the benefits for the area in the long-term often outweigh cash raised upfront.

Catherine Harrington is the director of the UK’s  National Community Land Trust Network and says

“People are demanding more of a say about what regeneration looks like, instead of sitting back and being told what the future of their area is going to be,” she adds.

“It’s about changing the narrative of housing: building homes rather than investment units; having security and stability in a particular place, rather than being forced to move every six months; and mobilising popular support for development.”

The nature and purpose of CLTs can be hard to generalise because they are each responding to the specific local housing need in their respective areas, they are community led and operated so address particular community needs and aspirations.   A few examples include some set up with the following objectives

 

Special Housing Areas - Success or Failure?

Ree Anderson guest speaker at the UDF AGM

  • 10 October 2016
  • Author: Duncan Ecob
  • Number of views: 1033
  • 0 Comments
Special Housing Areas - Success or Failure?
Ree Anderson at the UDF AGM (29Sept2016)
When Did the Auckland Housing Crisis Start?
..... was the opening questions from Ree Anderson, the previous head of Auckland Council’s, Housing Project Office (HPO) when she addressed the Urban Design Forum. Over an all too brief, 40 minutes Ree explored the SHA, its successes and the lessons learned, leading to many questions and opinions from the floor at its conclusion.
  

Ree gave insight into how the Council took the initiative in developing the approach to deal with the planning system’s poor decision process through the setting up of the HPO. This was in response to the Housing Accord and Special Housing Areas Act (HASHAA) which intended to speed the delivery of new housing through an integrated planning response. The HPO was led by Planners, coordinating the inputs from all the stakeholders involved in the Plan Variations and resource consent applications under the HASHA. These stakeholders include those Council Controlled Organisations (CCO's) such as Auckland Transport, Parks and Stormwater (now known as Happy Water, sorry, Healthy Water).  The intention of the HPO was that the process was led by Planners with an outcomes focus, not a rigid approach to meet rules. The Planner was empowered to use judgement in achieving a positive outcome to address the housing crisis that Auckland is facing. Bringing in the CCOs who are responsible for the 'hard' infrastructure to enable development meant that everyone had a say, but the final decision was a balanced view of the Planner.

This was considered to be one of the key successes of the HPO although it wasn't tested robustly at the evening. Another key success was the integration of infrastructure and for this to be planned as a response to the emerging SHAs.
Lessons learned ranged from the need to manage expectations, especially with the Press, through to the fixed end-date of the HASHA legislation. The HPO could assist in delivering the land and boost opportunity but there is a construction industry that has to deliver on the ground and this needs further planning and capacity building from the private sector. This in turn lead to discussion on the need for central government to have social housing programmes that would give certainty to the construction industry and its supply chain outside the ‘boom' years . The intent to cease the HASHAA at the time that the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan was adopted was thrown a curve ball by the appeals against the Plan, with the result that the legislation has been extended until late December 2016, but no further.

Further questions remained around how the up-lift of land value can be captured through zoning changes for the benefit of further investment in infrastructure, and the role of the structure plan. Who leads the structure plan when landowners are focused on house numbers (the economic driver) and not the social, open space and transport infrastructure which add real value? Social infrastructure appears to be a major gap in much planning: who will provide health, education and community facilities seems to be an issue few are willing to tackle.

In all it was an enlightening evening; Ree has an abundance of experience which was eloquently shared and raised further questions for the Forum to discuss

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