I wonder and would say….
No New Lynn Metropolitan Centre was not the best example the Herald could have used for its #worldclassAKL piece today.
From the NZ Herald:
World-Class Auckland: Model for success lies out west – look at New Lynn
As the Herald’s World Class Auckland series draws to a close we take a look at the lessons learned and present readers with a blueprint of what it would take to elevate the Super City to the top.
As the Herald‘s World Class Auckland series draws to a close we take a look at the lessons learned and present readers with a blueprint of what it would take to elevate the Super City to the top.
Auckland is a golden sporting star, has ample green space, a growing creative scene, a developing public transport network and a school system that is among the best worldwide. But the city is yet to top global quality-of-life rankings.
It often ranks as one of the most expensive cities to live in globally, public transport is bulging at the seams, maths and literacy have declined, there’s stark inequality between our richest and poorest schools, and the ever-growing urban sprawl is eating up our green spaces and limiting social connections.
Clearly there is no single solution, but hidden in Auckland’s west is a blueprint suburb. While it’s by no means perfect, New Lynn offers promise as a road map for future urban development that might just take us to the next level.
New Lynn’s revival
When you mention New Lynn, there’s a good chance anyone who hasn’t been there for a long time will conjure up many thoughts – but none involving the phrase “world class”.
Back in the day the mall was tired and far from a destination shopping centre. The cinemas shut down and moved closer to newer malls, pedestrians competed with motorists on cluttered streets, there were limited choices for a great meal or entertainment and the police helicopter visited more often than any resident would like.
But, as those who have been there more recently will know, those days are fading. The former “tired old town” is having a facelift costing about $400 million, complete with a well-oiled transport hub and a central entertainment and shopping precinct amid more affordable medium-density housing, great schools, office spaces, gyms, a library, a community centre and open public spaces.
New Lynn’s growth into a vibrant suburb where locals can live, work and play locally has been the result of more than a decade of planning and public and private investment.
The initial vision was to create a sustainable community around a transit interchange, capable of drawing and maintaining a population of 20,000 residents and 14,000 workers.
Now, says Auckland Mayor Len Brown, the vision is becoming a reality.
“What was a tired old town with great roots has become a place … with great liveable qualities.”
The suburb’s development has been largely based on ideas developed more than 10 years ago during a trip to Subiaco, Perth.
Following on from the Australian example, a robust development agency was created to drive the western suburb’s development and the entrenched rail which opened up New Lynn for development.
Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said what they saw in Subiaco was the potential such developments had in creating a self-sustaining community, with ample housing, retail and public space. “There was nothing like it in Auckland at the time.”
Okay 21 pairs of traffic lights, being completely ringed by four to six lane roads, inefficient land use and no strong anchor point as of yet. Okay I could have just described Manukau or Albany right there but I was referring to New Lynn.
Even with the 2,000 new medium density houses to be built next to the New Lynn Metropolitan Centre I still have a feeling that the bulk of those residents will just hit the Western Line to work in the City Centre, or the new Western Ring Route post 2017 to go south towards the industrial complexes as they do now.
In short without backing light and/or heavy industry of sizable volume nearby AND if office development also of sizeable volume does not occur in New Lynn then I will question whether New Lynn is a Metropolitan Centre or a large Town Centre. The jury is currently out on that one.
Thus I wonder if a Primary Centre (or Super Metropolitan Centre) should have been used as an example for the #worldclassAKL spot instead.
And by that I mean Manukau City Centre given that it has the following:
- Manukau Station and soon the Manukau Transport Interchange
- Wero White Water Rafting
- Design Manual sitting idle
- Offices including Government field offices
- one of the largest malls in Auckland at 199 retailers will full occupancy (Albany has 173 retailers)
- Regional hub
- Civic Infrastructure like the courts and police HQ
- A large park (Hayman Park)
Now I know Manukau needs work as do all ten Metropolitan Centres but it has a lot more facilities and so on than New Lynn does.
Apparently community and recreation let Manukau down. Well Manukau does have Rainbows End, Manukau Plaza, and Hayman Park so if they are not recreation I don’t know what is.
As for community I can see where this one might be muddled as it depends on definition of community. New Lynn (as would Papakura, Takapuna and Henderson) would have a tight-knit sense of community most likely owing to its catchment (sub regional) where as Manukau and Albany would fall over as a result because of their catchments which would skewer what community is. This is especially as Manukau City Centre has a regional catchment and acts in complement to the main City Centre. Thus community to Manukau is much wider and larger than say New Lynn. Therefore sense of place and sense of identity would kick in more than community and if you placed place and identity Manukau would have taken a top spot right behind the City Centre herself.
I leave you with my Primary Evidence to the Unitary Plan Centres Zones (051) which focuses at length on the Metropolitan Centres and Manukau as a Super Metropolitan Centre. It is a long read but it lays out the geography of the Metropolitan and Super Metropolitan Centres.