Making up for the last 5o years
If you have been to the City Centre recently or even Northcote, Takapuna, Manukau and Onehunga the aura of change is definitely in the air.
From the NZ Herald:
Viv Beck: Growing pains signal progress5:00 AM Monday Mar 28, 2016Viv Beck from Heart of the City explains why prospect of a downtown stadium and City Rail Link can give Aucklanders a chance to see into the future.
……..The debate has come as “March madness” hit the headlines with thousands of people affected by delays getting to and from the city.
……..It’s hard to imagine the city now without the buzz that comes from restaurants spilling out on to public spaces such as Britomart, Federal St and the waterfront. Fortunately change did not stop when the Cup was finally secured.
Queen St is today a thriving golden mile, with a mix of international and local brands and thousands of people walking through it every day. The surrounding streets are constantly evolving, bringing new offerings, each with their own diverse appeal.
Demand outstrips supply for retail space and commercial vacancy rates are the lowest they have been for 20 years. Spending is up 10 per cent on the last 12 months across the city centre and it’s become the most vibrant urban experience in New Zealand.
With an action-packed events calendar and a vibrant arts and cultural scene, these days the show never stops. The city also looks different, with beautifully restored heritage buildings, respect for quality design and new laneways connecting once forlorn streets. Auckland city now has a real heart. This is too precious to lose as the city continues to develop.
Auckland city now has a real heart. This is too precious to lose as the city continues to develop.
The level of investment planned is a phenomenal sign of confidence in our city – around $12 billion of private and public sector investment over the next 10 years. And with it comes the physical sign of growth – cranes, and yes, road works.
Auckland Transport and Auckland Council have a major responsibility to keep the city moving throughout these changes. If March madness continues through to May, June and July, we must hold them to account.
However, growth of this scale can’t be the responsibility of just a few organisations. We all have a role to play.
It’s incredibly frustrating to be stuck in traffic and there is no doubt a City Rail Link should have been built many years ago. But at least it’s finally happening. And the way we approach the change will make a massive difference to how we come through the next decade.
……..Growth is a good problem to have. The city is booming with more and more people choosing to visit, live and work here. This brings new opportunity and many innovative businesses are offering exciting and different experiences. The best thing we can do is to support them and enjoy what they have to offer as we manoeuvre the growing pains and consider the potential that lies ahead.
We have a unique chance to shape a city that has already attracted international attention. It’s not only great for Auckland’s economy – it will be great for New Zealand.• Viv Beck is chief executive of Heart of the City.
Indeed the City Centre is under the largest renewal if not full construction boom seen since the end of World War Two. But at the same time this current (and if anything decade long) boom is making up the last 50 years where the urban sprawl and motorways gutted out the City’s heart which only since the 2011 Rugby World Cup has come back to life (as an international centre).
And while the City Centre is undergoing a massive renewal program the suburbs are not forgotten either. Before Easter Panuku Development Auckland got the sign off from the Council’s Auckland Development Committee to start urban renewal work in the Takapuna Metropolitan Centre and Northcote Town Centre. Next month before the same Committee Panuku will seek sign off for the Manukau City Centre and Onehunga Transform programs which are arguably the largest of all of Panuku’s work outside the City Centre itself.
So the City Building Phase is well and truly under way which will mean growing pains as Auckland evolves into the 21st Century. But it is something we should be excited for rather than dread.