Seton, Manukau and Albany

All Having the Same Conversation


It seems the city of Calgary in the Canadian province of Alberta is having a similar discussion Auckland has around second tier centres otherwise known as Metropolitan Centres (in reference to Auckland).

I came across this piece via my Twitter feed:

Seton aims for mini downtown

Solar power has detractors, but high-intensity plan earns priase
Published December 5, 2013  by James Wilt in Urban Living

However, if the use of solar panels doesn’t garner praise, there’s another factor that may lend Seton approval from the New Urbanist crowd: it’s positioning itself to be a “second downtown” of sorts. The area has a fully operational hospital and firehall. A Marriot hotel, Superstore, Cineplex theatre, seniors’ residence and high-rise, high-density development (1,300 condo/apartments) are currently under construction. Future plans include a library, recreation centre, regional park, schools and two LRT stations.

Fryklind notes that all the land east of the Bow River and south of 130th Avenue will potentially house 230,000 people — Seton could be the hub.

“The planners of the day began to recognize that we needed to have a sort of secondary downtown in that area where people could work and live and not necessarily have to commute these long distances,” Fryklind says.

“Instead, they could use public transit or other means of transportation — bicycles, walking, etc. — to stay within that sector and maybe venture to downtown periodically.”

Francisco Alaniz Uribe, an adjunct associate professor at the University of Calgary’s faculty of environmental design, tentatively agrees, noting that Seton has the potential to spread out the amenities and reduce commuting time for some workers.

“Once you reach a certain size of a city, you need multiple nodes of activity,” says Uribe. “I think right now Calgary is at that point. It’s been there for a few years, I would say.

“Calling it another downtown is a bit of a stretch, but it would be reasonable to call it another node of high-intensity activity — which means jobs, more commercial spaces, higher density of residential.”

Seton might not get an LRT station anytime soon due to the cost of the project, which the Calgary Transit website pegs at around $2 billion. However, city council just committed more than a half-billion dollars over a decade to bus-only lanes to the area, which could be transformed into an LRT line by 2029.

Uribe says change in urban policy comes from three sectors: the municipal government, industry and citizens.

You can read the full article here:


While article was covering renewable energy in some new developments to the south-east of Calgary it did make mention of the fact the city is looking at creating a new “mini down-town.”

These two maps with the black boxes show the area being considered for the Seton mini-down-town:

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And so where have we heard this before? Why Manukau and Albany as our true second tier centres (CBD being the first) as Super Metropolitan Centres (with the rest of the Metro Centres as third tier) in a sprawling and growing Auckland.

You can see commentary around Manukau and it being a Super Metropolitan Centre through the ‘Manukau’ commentary tag here:


As you can see we are not the only ones debating around second tier centres for ever-growing cities like Auckland and Calgary.


Most recent work on Manukau