Professor Glaeser and the Unitary Plan

Be Bold?


Well after a few quiet days it seems the Unitary Plan (and Transport) have roared back into life today.

In the same regard on two Unitary Plan Main Stream Articles today Manukau is mentioned in both. So for me all three boxes were ticked thus deserving of commentary.

The first piece (this post) is on the recent visit and comments from Economist Dr Glaser on our Unitary Plan. His speech was great to listen to an inspirational although it has not been published on the Auckland Conversation webpage yet (another email here we go). Once Professor Glaser’s presentation and video is up I will run very specific commentary on it.

But, Professor Glaser’s comments in Stuff today has me paying attention.


Get real with city plan 


Do you still dream of owning a quarter acre section in the suburbs?

Think again, visiting Harvard Economist Edward Glaeser says – or risk stunting Auckland’s growth.


Mr Glaeser is the author of Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier.


He says the Auckland Council‘s unitary plan – outlining regional growth over the next 30 years, is not bold enough.


And residents also need to get real if they want the city to grow into an exciting place that continues to drive the national economy.


The quarter acre dream is simply not sustainable.

If that was not a swipe at the NIMBY‘s from a seasoned academic I don’t know what is then. But, the points are valid. Want the quarter acre dream? Shift OUT of Auckland and go else where. Pure economics won’t simply allow the quarter acre paradise that was once Auckland, it just does not make sense nor good business.


Still from Stuff

Mr Glaeser urges the council to be more aggressive in upzoning core urban areas as its works to solve regional housing issues.


That means building multi-storied buildings to create an exciting, pedestrian based city centre and avoiding suburban areas of medium density that only contribute to wider traffic congestion.


With 20 to 30 storeys in central Auckland you can produce massive amounts of space,” Mr Glaeser says.

He supports the Central Rail Link but endorses buses as the best public transport option for a moderate density city like Auckland.


Continued investment in roads will not solve its congestion problems until there is an ideological shift against the Kiwi obsession with the car, he says.

I believe he might be pushing the Unitary Plan on steroids here. Something quite I might not agree with fully nor did the Deputy Mayor who oversees the Unitary Plan process.

From Stuff one more time

Deputy mayor Penny Hulse says many of Mr Glaeser’s ideas fit with what the council is doing around the unitary plan.


“He does agree with giving people the opportunity to live and work in close proximity.”


But she says it would be difficult to develop the central city to the same extent as others around the world, given Auckland’s unique geographical shape.


The council has instead chosen to develop the city, along with other hubs like Takapuna, Manukau, New Lynn and Henderson, she says.


“We’re not exactly the same as Vancouver or Houston. By just shoving everything into the city


Now I can say this with a smile and get our Deputy Mayor shaking her head while also cracking a smile. But, can I see a slight deviation from the Mayor’s and Professor Glaser’s ultra mono-core centric approach to the city and Auckland preparing for a dual or even multi core centric approach?

Well I know New Lynn is definitely on its way to becoming a Metropolitan Centre as well as Newmarket. While the North Shore work out their own issues I also know active consideration is being given to Manukau to be upgraded to at the minimum a Super Metropolitan Centre.

That means an effective City Centre but not quite City Centre on par with the main CBD. With the announcement around AUT expanding 336% this morning in Manukau (covered in my next post), it along with the MIT campus over the Manukau Station will reinforce the “Super” Hub position.

So Professor Glaser’s Unitary Plan call could very well happen, just over two hearts/cores rather than one.  Now that IS BOLD!

Still interesting times ahead.

Oh and will the MSM please get people’s titles right. I am a stickler for titles and Professor Edward Glaser is just that – a Professor not a Mister :-\



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