#TransformManukau – Housing. Part 12 of the Manukau City Centre – The Transform Series

Improving Housing in Manukau


When improving an existing residential area such as the residential area of Manukau (south of the Manukau City Centre) and Rata Vines the imperative to have the community in question in the front seat of that urban renewal is an absolute. As urban renewal in a residential area involves people, families and their lives one must be sensitive to their needs to minimise disruption to them. The opportunities though doing urban renewal in a residential area should not be ignored however especially when improving the quality of life to the residents remembering that such improvement to their quality of life does increase their economic participation.


Areas concerned:


Barrowcliffe and the SHA

Starting at the two short-term areas (Barrowcliffe and the Special Housing Area) there is opportunity for medium density residential and mixed use development that can influence urban renewal in the existing residential areas around them. Given the Barrowcliffe and SHA area are on blank land and close to major transport routes (public, active and the car) getting these high quality developments off the ground should be a straight forward exercise.

For more on the Manukau Special Housing Area see: New Special Housing Areas Announced Including One in Manukau #AKLPols

The location of Barrowcliffe so close to Manukau City Centre allows the opportunity to go for the full six-seven storeys allowed with the Additional Height overlay that can be applied to the Terraced Housing and Apartment Building Zone under the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. Anything lower than this is really short-changing both Manukau through missing the opportunity of critical mass of residents to a commercial area as well as increasing the stock of housing so needed in Auckland.


Existing residential areas

Conducting urban renewal in the existing residential areas is another challenge entirely for reasons I have mentioned earlier. But with the Unitary Plan very likely to have Manukau and Rata Vines upzoned to either Terraced Housing and Apartment or the Mixed Housing Urban zones (or even both) and most of the housing stock under Housing New Zealand care the opportunities to upgrade the housing stock to warm dry housing for existing residents while providing warm dry housing for new residents again can not be ignored.

But with any urban renewal in an existing residential area two things must be considered:

  1. Community is in the front seat driving the renewal. They know the area thus know what the area needs especially when intensification is under way.
  2. Existing residents have first right in choice in the renewal area when their existing housing is replaced with upgraded housing before new residents

Number two is probably something the Tamaki Redevelopment could have done better if at all.


One also has to remember urban renewal in an existing residential area is more than sticking up some terraced housing and apartments and going here is your new home. There is the wider environment including the physical streetscape and the communities themselves.

Building wide roads that basically become traffic sewers is the fastest way of isolating the community of interacting with each other. Narrow low-speed streets where the people are put as priority over the car extend the “front yard” of a residential dwelling and can act as social points for the residents. The narrow low-speed streets becoming those extended front yards would also complement existing and new parks that act as green lungs to the intensified area.



The above are the latest developments (ironically called Manukau) in Neo Layton City (Cities Skylines) and can provide a virtual demonstration of how streetscapes and parks can extend the reach of a residential area (that virtual front yard). The speed limit for the lane ways is 30km/h while the tree-lined streets is 40km/h. So you can see even in Cities Skylines you have the humanising aspects of the streetscape and transport system.


This is in comparison to this which is 60km/h and not very people friendly:


That said you can try to humanise it as seen here by taking out the car parks and adding trees:

Road with trees
Road with trees and bus lanes





Hence the primary reason the Transform Manukau series is being told with the largest urban renewal project in Auckland (600 hectares). Social amenities can not be an afterthought like they have been. The human element or rather the Human Geography factor. We are community building and/or enhancing here. Transform Manukau led by Panuku is more than just sticking up new developments (in which new warm dry housing so the residents do not get sick and lose out on education and work participation is good) but building that human element of the South. Yes physical geography elements of streetscapes can deeply influence how the human geography elements pan out. But unless we understand the human element first – that is the people in the driving set driving the implementation of Transform Manukau everything else becomes moot to the point being a complete waste of people’s time and money.

Thus in the next Transform Manukau series post next week I go back to the sit down I had with Panuku Development Auckland and look at the sense of identity attached to Manukau City Centre and what it means to Southern Auckland.


In the meantime any thoughts on how Transform Manukau could be done to improve the quality of life and increase economic participation leave them in the comment box below.