News and views from our members.
Views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Urban Design Forum or its supporting institutes.
28 March 2018
The Urban Design Forum supports the main thrust of the Plan, particularly the ongoing commitment to compact, efficient and well-designed patterns of growth and development.
We further support the integration of economic and social issues into the Auckland Plan, but note the danger in this holistic approach is that the Plan loses focus on the spatial and physical aspects of planning. It seems that, in part, the Plan is merely documenting current spatial initiatives rather than setting a clear strategic direction for implementation in the post-Unitary Plan era.
So the first main question is: What is the big idea driving Auckland into the future?
A visit to new the Christchurch central city residential development
On a hot Thursday evening earlier this month, the Canterbury branches of the Urban Design Forum and Transportation Group NZ met at the north end of the East Frame. The East Frame is one of the Anchor Projects being delivered by Ōtākaro Limited on behalf of the Crown. The East Frame will be a new residential area in the heart of the city built around Rauora Park.
Appeal about Carparking Rules as a Section 274 party
The Urban Design Forum, in association with the NZIA and Generation Zero, joined a Unitary Plan Appeal about Carparking Rules as a Section 274 party.
We submitted in opposition to an Appeal by the supermarket chains and half a dozen other “big box” retailers, who were seeking to re-impose Minimum Parking Requirements on the town centres that they regularly abandon when they set up, for instance, a new Pak’n’Save on a nearby traffic arterial.
(image: Under-used parking behind the Pukekohe mainstreet shops)
A recent UK study has concluded that compact and walkable neighbourhoods improves peoples physical and mental health, with people living in them being more active and socially engaged than people that live in lower density suburbs. The link between health and urban form is strongly made in the report. This is an important relationship, particularly when part of the discussion is on the value of urban design.
Auckland is not the ‘engine of prosperity’ it should be
Last week’s result of the study by NZIER into the cost of Auckland’s traffic congestion brings into focus the economic impact of choices we make about the physical form of our city. It is good to see the congestion issue now being framed as limiting the productivity of the city, rather than as just an inconvenience to be tolerated as the price of living in Auckland.
Auckland’s productivity is low when we compare ourselves to other cities that, at least on the surface, look and feel a bit like us – Sydney, Melbourne and Vancouver for example. This affects our standard of living and reduces the amount of money available to implement public works that could make Auckland much more liveable.