Unitec Housing Proposal? Why Not? #AKLPols

It can be done to no detriment of existing residents nearby

 

I see the Herald has written another piece about Unitec in Mt Albert wanting to convert some of its land from tertiary education over to housing. Given Unitec have submitted such a proposed to the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (that is being heard) the plans have been in the pipeline for a while now.

 

From the NZ Herald:

Fight back against $250m plan to turn Unitec campus into suburban real estate

Residents seek battle funds as institute moves to cut up campus for 1400 new homes.

Plans to turn a sprawling Auckland campus into suburban real estate are running into stiff local opposition.

Home-owners near Unitec’s 53ha Mt Albert/Pt Chevalier site have started fundraising to hire a traffic engineer and other experts to fight a $250 million project which could create 1400 new residences.

Louise Newman, who lives in quiet Laurel St off Springleigh Ave, is worried about extra traffic from the new properties.

“Unitec plans to open up our small cul de sac roads. Traffic will flow through these and on to Woodward Rd. To have this go ahead would be devastating,” she said.

 

 Mt Albert Residents Association flyers encouraged people to use the Givealittle site to help fund experts to fight the plans.

Unitec says it must make major changes in how it uses the land. Residential development makes sense, it says, and it needs only 7ha of its site, squeezing down the eastern end. It has one of the largest development opportunities in Auckland and a rare chance to create a high-quality, dynamic, urban environment and a lasting legacy for the city, it says.

 

…….”As a highly connected site near the centre of the city, the precinct would benefit from significant developments in the road, rail and bus networks and has a likely estimated 1400 dwellings.

“Around 1100 of these would be on Unitec’s current land with further development available on the sites currently used by the Mason Clinic, Taylor’s Laundry and land owned by Ngati Whatua,” Unitec says.

Phil Twyford, Labour’s housing spokesman, welcomed Unitec’s plans.

“From what I have seen, I’m supportive of it in principle. There’re a lot of things that stack up pretty well.

“They want to build a residential community on the campus to enhance Unitec, with a mix of affordable housing. But there’s an issue about transport – you don’t just spill congestion,” he said.

………

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Full article: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11551312

 

The Map of the area

Unitec and surround area Source: Google Maps
Unitec and surround area
Source: Google Maps

 

First of all I see the Herald has got the token white family out in the photo ironically standing in the middle of the street. I mention this for Media Studies and Sociology reasons on why the Herald picked the white family when half the article is on NIMBYism to the development. The article none-the-less was balanced out with MP Phil Tywford cautiously warm for the proposal

 

The map shows where the development would be situation (bottom end of the Unitec site) corresponding to main roads and the Mt Albert Rail Station serving the Western Line.

Given the development will be near two major bus routes (New North Road and Carrington Road) and within 10 minutes of Mt Albert Station transport should be of no particular issue. That said I see no reason to connect the cul-de-sacs like Laurel Street up into the main development by a road serving cars. I certainly don’t do that in my Cities Skylines cities if it causes a rat running situation. Rather than I use paths and cycleways to connect the cul-de-sac to the main thoroughfare nearby that will often have public transport serving it.

 

As for the zoning if this development was to go through I was thinking of the Mixed Housing Urban Zone which allows up to 12 metre high three storey development including although limited in application terraced housing. To mitigate car travels to a local store a Neighbourhood Centre zone (allows up to two storey commercial developments) or even a small Local Centre zone (allows three storeys and mixed use development). should be located in this new development as well. Civic infrastructure such as parks and a new community centre are a must as well.

In any case though a Master Planned development at the Unitec site would be a boon for the Isthmus that is short housing close to the main City Centre especially as it sits on or near three major public transport routes (bus and rail).

 

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