Preparing “Looking at Developing a 21st Century Auckland” Presentation

Aiming to Give Presentation to Council Urban/Rural Development Committee – This Month

(Subject to Speaking Rights Granted by the Chair)

 

On November 28th the Council Urban/Rural Development Committee (successor to the previous Auckland Plan Committee in the previous term of Council) will meet for the first time. Most likely the Committee (of the Whole) will be outlining the next three years ahead which at a guess will be Unitary Plan submission and preparing for the Area Plans. 

 

After both mainly positive and constructive feedback from the “Manukau Interchange Redevelopment Mk3 – and Incorporating Te Papa North” post that was published yesterday, I am going to try my luck and see if I can rattle off a three prong presentation to the Committee. The main overarching theme of the hopeful presentation will be the fact we have entered the City Building Phase which most people and the wider Council have acknowledged. From the overarching theme three sub-themes (the prongs) will be spelt out to the Committee – on where I things as I see them should go.

 

Prong One: Introduction and laying the challenge down on Area Plans

Here I will be doing the introductions before laying the challenge down on the upcoming Area Plan timetable the Council is about to embark on. Remember that rather than six years to get all the Area Plans complete, the Mayor will be calling for all Area Plans to be complete by 2016 – this current term. So a very compressed time frame.

 

The challenge I will be laying down is for Council to break conventional thinking with the Area Plans and embark on something more ambitious and outside the square.

Conventional thinking by Council and the Planners is to: consult some stakeholders, draw up an Area Plan, take it out to consultation, tinker with the plan after the consultation, maybe send it back out to either stakeholders or the community, then publish for operation (and hopefully not appealed in the Environment Court).  While I was involved in that particular process with the Unitary Plan it was not the best I could think of given all things that occurred post March 16.

 

Here are three Tweets from recent presenter in Auckland – Brent Toderian:

Better public engagement needs a broader general dialogue on city-making, rather than waiting until you have a plan or project to discuss.

Successful engagement isnt necessarily indicated by the absence of controversy. The toughest city-making subjects can be the most important.

Good public engagement is less of a checklist, more of a culture. Tone & respect can be more important than the specific tools & techniques.

That first tweet on broader general dialogue rather than waiting until a plan or project to discuss I can not emphasis enough especially to Council. And this is where we need to break the conventional wisdom around planning as I mentioned above.

So the challenge again to the Council will be to break our conventional style of planning and do something different and more “bold.”  As honestly we do not need a repeat of hostilities seen with the Unitary Plan earlier this year when we come to the Area Plans (that have greater effects on our local communities).

 

Just to provide some clarification after some feedback on this original post.

In regards to this line: “Conventional thinking by Council and the Planners is to: consult some stakeholders, draw up an Area Plan, take it out to consultation, tinker with the plan after the consultation, maybe send it back out to either stakeholders or the community, then publish for operation (and hopefully not appealed in the Environment Court).”

I am aware that the Civic Forums hosted by Council were held on what we would like to see in the Unitary Plan before the plan came out for general release. I was invited to Manukau Civic Forum and gave full in put there. This Youtube Link https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hbqNoc0D6MM gives highlights to what happened in the various Civic Forums around Auckland late last year.

In my challenge to break “conventional” thinking (as mentioned above) I was thinking when it came to the Area Plans; yes do some Civic Forums again but also hold full open days like what we are seeing with the Unitary Plan right now (Reminder: Unitary Plan Open Days) to engage with an even wider public realm. The wider the engagement with the public realm, the more open the public are to a often complex planning exercise that will entail for their area.

Both Civic Forums and Open Days prior to the Area Plans being released would assist greatly with the concept Brent Toderian has said in his first quoted tweet above (Better public engagement needs a broader general dialogue on city-making, rather than waiting until you have a plan or project to discuss.)

 

In regards to this line: While I was involved in that particular process with the Unitary Plan it was not the best I could think of given all things that occurred post March 16.

This stirred a bit of feedback however, in my defence  to the readers please remember that it was the Deputy Mayor (Penny Hulse) that said in a media conference after being asked by Bernard Orsman that the feedback period on the Unitary Plan earlier this year was rated a C (if not C-).

Meaning a pass on the consultation period then but considered an ugly pass at that. So a pass folks not a fail.

But in defence of the Council though after that feedback period which got a wide range of responses (and endless hours of running commentary this end) they have worked on making sure the consultation/engagement process in regards to the formal notification period of the Unitary Plan is very robust this time around. I would also take a safe bet that it would be the same for the Area Plans as well.

Efforts are being made to ensure the communication and dialogue processes between Council and all media outlets (MSM and Bloggers) is healthy and robust for when the next round of engagements occur. Balanced communication and critiques allows for a robust debate. Having one skewer off (not naming names here with the particular media outlet) then the debate goes off the rails, loses focus, teeth gnashing occurs and we get no where. It also means triple time trying to get the debate back onto the rails.

Hopefully that provides some clarification to where I say “laying down a challenge.”

 

Second Prong: “Looking at Developing a 21st Century Auckland”

This particular prong will be essentially drawing on my “Looking at Developing a 21st Century Auckland – Series – Surburbia” post, especially around these two bits:

  1. Wars are won and lost in Suburbia
  2. “The Goal: A complete downtown (sustainable, resilient, lively, healthy and vibrant,); and a COMPLETE City!”

 

Quoting the material that gives rise to the second bullet point:

Thus a complete city is a city planned, designed and built for both its CBD heart and its suburbia body (Rural are the oxygen, food and water supplies for the city). This slide from Brent shows the levels needed in City Building to build a complete city:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/181328881/Brent-Toderian-Presentation-At-Auckland-Aotea-Centre#page=20

http://www.scribd.com/doc/181328881/Brent-Toderian-Presentation-At-Auckland-Aotea-Centre#page=20

Although I would adapt it slightly to the (South) Auckland context – starting at the bottom;

  • Site: House, Commercial, or Industrial building
  • Community: Papakura
  • City-wide: South Auckland
  • Regional: Auckland

Another way of adapting it to the Auckland context would be:

  • Site: My home – located in Papakura, South Auckland, Auckland (these are all social identifiers)
  • Community Hub: Papakura Town Centre
  • South Auckland Hub: Manukau City Centre (a (Super) Metropolitan Centre)
  • Auckland Hub: The Central Business District

If I was to adapt this across Auckland to different areas your “City Wide” would be split into:

  • South(ern) Auckland
  • Isthmus/West Auckland
  • North Shore/Rodney

Note it was not designed to be moulded along the old pre Super City legacy Council boundaries and areas.

Basically I will be calling the Council with the order of completing Area Plans to start with the two second-tier centres (the Super Metropolitan Centres): Manukau and Albany, before going down to the other Metro Centres then the Town and if needed Local Centres after that.

 

Yes that means Orakei Local Board gets shunted to around third on the list of the Area Plan priorities. And if they bring up about market attractiveness well sorry the CBD and its fringes (which already has the City Centre Master Plan in effect), South Auckland (South Auckland – The Rising Jewel in Auckland’s Crown” ) and (if the North Shore is ready) Albany are more “market attractive” and actually ready to go looking at the growth figures (Strong Growth in Auckland). Investors and growth favour those more flexible towards them – something the central isthmus zoning is not at the moment).

 

The Third and Final Prong: Redeveloping Manukau for the 21st Century

After the positive and constructive feedback for my “Manukau Interchange Redevelopment Mk3 – and Incorporating Te Papa North” post yesterday I will be carrying this particular post as the final part of the presentation to the Committee. I am aware of current designs and concepts around things like the Manukau Interchange by Auckland Transport etc, however, as noted in Transport Blog and Talking Auckland feedback as well the concepts are very underwhelming and do nothing in bringing Manukau to the 21st Century.

So the MK3 (current) version of the macro-urban design mock-up I am doing on the proposed interchange site blends in a multi-use complex that accommodates:

  • Complex occupies entire existing Council car-park site (1.77 hectares)
  • Mix of Commercial Office, Commercial Service (retail and hospitality), Residential and the Te Papa North Facility
  • Underground car parking provided
  • Bus interchange built-in on Putney Way. Capacity for between 10-22 buses depending on layout and use). It is a linear concept used in New Lynn Transport Interchange
  • Green Space and Plazas provided with Plazas covered by archway glass giving the arcade effect
  • Arcade corridor provided that allows thoroughfare pedestrian traffic and also housing retail/hospitality facilities
  • Te Papa North Facility on large block opposite MIT building
  • 18 storey resident apartment tower on north-eastern side opposite Manukau Civic Complex
  • Utility access provided from Manukau Station Road

Thus saving Hayman Park as a green space while getting maximum bang for buck out of the proposed interchange site with a full multi-use complex. Bold and visionary I say for the area. And it could also be the very spark to kick off wider urban renewal for the Manukau area.

 

The MK3 Redevelopment of the Interchange site and as I wind up the presentation from here will illustrate a start to the necessary wider redevelopment of the Manukau (Super) Metropolitan Centre. Pencil drawings of the Manukau Westfield Mall site will be also displayed as well (got to get better use out of that sea car park space).

Of course this will be all subject to speaking rights granted by the Committee Chair who is also our Deputy Mayor – Penny Hulse.

The overarching theme is City Building, the point being lets break conventional planning wisdom and go for the bold and visionary. Brent Toderian showed how Vancouver pulled it off, hopefully I can give an example of how we can pull it off. And the examples for the South can be very easily translated for all other areas of Auckland as well, just need the locals to take the baton for their area 🙂

Will keep everyone posted as we approach the November 28th date