It must be the Sim City in me that has me fascinated with all things planning and urban development. Then again I did create this “work-in-progress” monster called Solaria with 3.7 million sims and due to hold 5 million sims upon completion by the time Sim City 5 comes out next year:
Solaria at 3.8 million sims
Still working on the city as I finish off The Core, Auckland District and start on the low density sprawl and rural hamlets that would form the outer reaches of this mega city. If anyone is interested – the transport system has its merits such as it takes 75 minutes to cross one end of the map to the other by car (half by High Speed Rail), and the inner city is known as a Walking City as 85% of sims in the area (which houses 55% of the total population of the “region”) either walk or take public transport – the rest of the region is mixed either at 50:50 or car dominated (outer fringes). However the Highway system is incomplete in The Core (bad planning – oops) and thoroughfare connections are missing in some places – oh well.
For something opposite to the mega-city I do have Neo Solaria which I started on this year:
Set in the Western Bay of Plenty topography, Neo Solaria is my final SC4 city before SC5 is due out next year. Neo Solaria is planned to hold 4 million sims and will be developed as a final form from Solaria. Meaning Solaria has been developed over nine years with very distinct planning changes over the nine years. Solaria is basically one big planning experiment on different planning ideas I have learned over time – while Neo Solaria will take the best of all the learning over that nine years and be applied in the new mega city.
Both cities however I deem organic with their intensification, sprawl and ad-hoc development as I have never been a fan of the Master Plan City whether everything is planned and built down to the last detail. Essentially I lay down the infrastructure, parks and civic structures (fire, police, education, medical), lay out the zones and left “forces” do the rest without my intervening hand (much). Urban renewal is often automatic (market driven in the real world) although there are times where I did lead urban renewal efforts from time to time (the Capital District was the main one). Those who have read my submission should be able to draw the line from my submission to my SC4 works. And for those who are really concerned, my extensive mass transit system actually makes a profit overall while delivering a first class service (well we get overcrowding on some lines) – but essentially the way I lay the transit system it was done in tandem with any development (or “designated” to be built later but the route was available – much like the land for the South West Rail Line following State Highway 20 from Onehunga to Avondale) rather than AFTER THE FACT as seen often in Auckland and soon to be in Christchurch.
Now after all that – the Herald article at hand. The piece about Marsden “City” due to be built near Marsden Point caught my attention. Check this ouit:
North Holdings is creating a mixture of commercial and residential development spread over 135ha within the existing Northgate and Port Marsden industrial estates Company director Oliver Scott said work on the development of a mixed-use town centre comprising about 765,000sq m of land area was expected to start within six months. He said commercial and industrial buildings would probably lead the construction, followed by residential units. Stage one of the development will include 22,000sq m of retail space and 20,000sq m of other commercial activity, 250 residential house lots, 150 apartments above retail and a variety of industrial uses. The development is part of the Whangarei District Council‘s structure plan which allows for 60,000sq m of net floor area for retail and 82,000sq m for non-retail commercial use.
There can be up to 2200 residential units. Choices for residential living include detached houses, attached town-houses, terraced housing and apartments, with most around a large neighbourhood park. A variety of urban parks, as well as pedestrian and cycle facilities, would be developed over 5ha. Scott said new zoning would also allow for retirement living and educational facilities. Another company, TR Developments, plans to construct a university and residential apartments close to North Holdings’ project.
Yes my mouth is watering over this, especially when you get these benefits:
He said Northland’s economy would get a huge boost from the project, together with a $500 million refinery expansion announced by Refining New Zealand which would create more than 350 jobs. ”There’s the [Marsden] port, good climate, nice beaches and the Hoppers marine development as well and there’s every likelihood that North Port will continue to expand and very easily pick up business from Auckland.”
And the good news is:
Whangarei District Council and the Environment Court have given North Holdings, the company spearheading the move, the all-clear.
As well as some forward planning seen here:
Roading and other infrastructure were largely in place, he said, but North Holdings would need to upgrade Casey Rd as the centre’s main street and to carry out additional landscaping. ”The main thing is we now have certainty the project will happen, it’s just a matter of when. It has all the hallmarks of long-term sustainable development,” Scott said. He is encouraging job-generating businesses to move into the area. The entire project will take between 15 and 20 years to complete.
North Holdings has spent $75 million developing infrastructure at the Northgate industrial park over several years.
I will be watching this project very carefully – as it might teach Auckland a few things on urban development ESPECIALLY when it seems it is privately rather than council led (much like my submission calls for (Private Led through the SLPD scheme I proposed)). To be honest I would not mind going up to Marsden Point and meeting the brainchild or rather brainchildren of this scheme because I would like to see this work for Manukau and Papakura – especially if I can get POAL to move to South East Auckland! The only thing that needs to be done is for Kiwi Rail to build the Marsden Point Spur Line to connect Marsden Point and Marsden City to the North Auckland Line to allow a full rail connection from Marsden back to Auckland (oh and an upgrade to the NAL as well).
Auckland Council should be kicking themselves here for not taking a trip up north to check out this development. Tell you what – if I was ever on Auckland Council one of my first missions would be (after setting up the office and holding some constituent meetings) to visit Marsden City and see how it was done and how it can be adapted for Auckland! No need to go overseas when we have a masterpiece right HERE on our own door step!
My SLPD Idea as in my Submission to The Auckland Plan