Does the opening of the North West Mall in Westgate have wider implications ?
The recent opening of DNZ’s new North West Mall in Westgate (north-west Auckland) has attracted plenty of comments from whether punts found the place underwhelming and bland (just another mall) to commentators and Urban Designers not really singing the praises of the new mall addition either.
Dushko Bogunovich who teaches urban design and planning at Auckland’s Unitech entered a debate with Deputy Mayor Hulse on the merits of North West (the mall) and its wider implications to Auckland Planning. The debate started after North Shore Councillor Chris Darby passed comment on North West and a comment (negative as it is) I am tending to agree with.
This was the debate on North West Mall and the Wider Implications to Auckland’s Planning:
My own thoughts on Westgate Metropolitan Centre can be heard here: The Weekend Analysis: Westgate – Nothing to be Proud Of
As for Councillor Cooper’s claims (In the Cr Darby – Bogunovich about lack of buses and public transport for those in the West it does show both the Councillor’s lack of imagination and doing her job going into bat for West Auckland when they had their New Bus Network consultation done earlier on. A new network that was the most underwhelming of all of Auckland’s and failed to connect anywhere but from New Lynn and Henderson to the City Centre. To satisfy the apparent concerns Cooper has a Quality Transport Network (QTN) should have been built from Henderson Metropolitan Centre to Westgate Metropolitan Centre via Lincoln Road and the North Western Motorway to Albany (Super) Metropolitan Centre via State Highway 18 and Hobsonville Point and return on frequencies every 20 minutes all day seven days a week.
That way the West is connected to another Metropolitan Centre and a proposed Super Metropolitan Centre meaning not only access to jobs (at the moment in Albany which has industry nearby unlike Westgate) but also a decent standard public transport link between the three Metropolitan Centres mitigating the need against the car (and and another carbon copy mall in Westgate). The West-North QTN between Henderson and Albany via Westgate would have also meant Henderson Metropolitan Centre became more attractive to investment thus subsequent urban renewal as critical mass was achieved by the new residents out at Westgate.
But sadly the entire vision is missed and we are stuck with repetitive sprawl out at Westgate at the detriment to Henderson. Even if the Auditor General clears everything up (see: Terms of Reference into Westgate Investigation Released) we might be looking at Henderson and Westgate and sigh on an opportunity long missed in place of another sprawl town.