#citizenplanners vs Planner Planners (insofar as Resource Management Act Practitioners) #AKLPols

Auckland Council needs to be bold, let go and embrace the #citizenplanners


I saw the following two tweets below and it got me thinking how we in Auckland could change our planning from what is very adversarial to more complimentary and embracing especially with the communities:



Now I know our planning system is ruled by the Resource Management Act 1991 but the very Act itself has made Planning what I call more of an exercise in legal wankery than actually “planning” for the current and most importantly future needs of our communities AND the City as a whole. While I would advocate those who would practice planning to be split 67% citizen-planners and 33% Planners or rather Resource Management Act Practitioners the split I am more interested in is Local and Regional level.


Given communities and their citizens are more responsive to the current and future needs at a local and to an extent sub-regional level I would have anything dealing with residential zones, Neighbourhood, Local and Town Centres as one tier of planning that would be overseen by more beefed up Local Boards.

Regional matters such as the Heavy Industry Complexes, the Metropolitan Centre (including my proposed Super Metropolitan Centre) and the City Centre itself I would have handled in a second tier and overseen by the regional Councillors (the Governing Body). That said the Local tier would still have full input and partnership with the Regional tier given they are also affected by those bigger Centres and Complexes. 


Manukau Mall East Extensions Overview MK2
Manukau Mall East Extensions Overview MK2


Ultimately though Auckland Council is going to have to be very bold if it wants to improve its rapport with the people of Auckland and embrace the Citizen Planner as described by the Tweets above. The RMA practitioners will always be there to make sure the Act is not contravened but planning in itself needs to be about that planning. And as it was said:

IMHO – any person with an open inquiring mind & ability to engage/communicate needs only a modest technical knowledge to be a #planner



If you want an example of citizen planner somewhat playing out verses legal wankery look no further than the Unitary Plan Hearings with then the Centres/Business Zones and currently the Residential Zones.

From observations Council (and thus it forces submitters into the situation) is engaged in pure RMA legal wankery while submitters were trying to “plan” for current and future needs whether for themselves or wider groups. Following that observation through I have noticed the Panel while complying with the needs of the Resource Management Act as the Unitary Plan is an RMA document tending more towards actual planning (while using the RMA to back their points) and often taking apart Council planning and legal submissions for the Unitary Plan itself.

One to watch would be the Terraced Housing and Apartment Zone debate currently under way which the Council has imposed a 15 metre height limit on it at the moment. But from what I have heard the Panel probed the Council quite stringently on the logic of that height limit for that zone (the most intense of the four Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan Residential Zones). That probing lead to a question on providing amenity was not made worse than before the apartments were built and the transport section was satisfied why the height limit for the THAB zone given the City needs to intensify over the next 30 years and the Capacity Modelling shows only 11% of potential capacity for intensification is economically feasible under the current proposals.

Meaning the planning Residential Zones from the Council side is not meeting the needs arguably for the City and its communities.



[I will leave the rest to you. Those more inclined feel free to finish the story in the comments below or as a guest post]


Layton Suburbia at Night Spot the bus station
Layton Suburbia at Night
Spot the bus station