Enabling diverse typology
Apartments (and terraced housing), they strike fear into the NIMBY’s with a common disbelief that the Unitary Plan will force apartments next door to your place in some leafy suburb out east. If only you were so lucky.
The Unitary Plan however, only enables landowners to build to what the Plan allows. It does not force anyone to do anything with their land.
In any case where apartments or terraced housing might go is more of an important question especially around planning for future infrastructure.
In the Panel’s recommendations they released an 84-page report on where certain housing topologies might go under optimal market conditions. The same report also factored in Housing New Zealand building 39,000 homes through the life of the Unitary Plan without any extra intervention from the Government. So where are these apartments and terraced housings going? Well first we have to look at each of the zone’s potential capacity and whether it is going to be in the existing urban area (intensification) or sprawl. The below graph shows where the 422,000 potential homes could end up in Auckland (New urban areas = the yellow Future Urban Zone).
In numbers form:
Most of Auckland’s future housing will be in the Mixed Housing Urban and Suburban Zones. The Mixed Housing Suburban Zone allows developments like Addison in Takanini – two storey houses that we most commonly see in new builds. For Mixed Housing Urban the below graphic shows what could be developed:
I live in an area that is zoned Mixed Housing Urban and the potential of what can be developed for that zone does not frighten me in the slightest. If anything it would encourage greater amenity and community into the area (providing Council kept up with parks).
The Terraced Housing and Apartment Zone takes quite a bit of the capacity potential given the Hearings Panel extended the reach of that zone. For example the stretch along Pakuranga Road in Howick was upzoned from Mixed Housing Urban to Terraced Housing and Apartment. I hope Auckland Transport plan to get bus lanes (and later light rail) down that stretch of road rather soon.
The business zones have mostly seen improvement in capacity especially the Mixed Use Zone (due to its spatial application being widened from replacing the General Business or Light Industry zones in some areas), the Town Centre Zone and especially the Metropolitan Centre Zone that saw a three times increase in capacity. However, while the Town and Metropolitan Centre Zones saw capacity increases the City Centre Zone saw a noticeable decline in potential capacity in housing (putting at risk development to the City Centre itself).
As for the Brownfield-Greenfield split; even with more Future Urban Zoning being placed down by the Panel the final split was 64% in existing urban areas (Brownfield) and 36% as Greenfield meaning the split is within the Auckland Plan objective of 60:40 Brownfield : Greenfield.
So where are the dwellings going?
This was what the Panel had in terms of number of dwellings by Local Board area:
I did notice straight away that Howick had the potential for 22,000 apartments with Maungakiekie-Tamaki up for 35,000 while Waitemata that has the City Centre was only up for 19,416 apartments despite the City Centre having unlimited height (in terms of restrictions).
I also did notice Otara-Papatoetoe, and Manurewa Local Board areas seem to be a bit low on the apartment side given both Local Board areas have the Transform Manukau project under way by Panuku. Given there are several developments underway in the Transform Manukau area that includes around a mix of 1,700 terraced housing and apartments with more in the pipeline (and this does not include anything Housing New Zealand has planned yet) the numbers from the Hearings Panel seem off.
Meaning I would treat the modelling with caution especially if it shows Papakura (my area) showing more apartment potential than Manukau (Otara-Papatoetoe and Manurewa) despite Manukau having both larger areas Metropolitan Centre and Mixed Use zones. The caution also extends to the matter of public sector agencies like Panuku Development Auckland who are leading Transform Manukau that would skewer the Unitary Plan modelling (this is by no means a bad thing with the Transform Manukau area having potential of housing 30,000 homes).
All-in-all though the numbers from the report by the Hearings Panel give us a rough guide to the types of homes being built and where they might end up. This should give the likes of Auckland Transport and Watercare indication of where major infrastructure investments will be needed. Priority shifts back to the Council to also resume Area Plans so that specific areas in Auckland have a timetable of rolling out investment as urban development occurs.
So what do you think of the numbers?
The Hearings Panel Report into Urban Growth