Running Two Centres or When a Centre Moves

Economic centre points on the move?


From CityLab

Most cities have a single economic center or “central business district,” but New York City has two. There is the original downtown economic hub around Wall Street and the financial district, and then there is Midtown, which developed later and is home to the world’s largest collection of corporate headquarters.
As with most things New York, there’s no shortage of explanations for how and why the economic geography of the city turned out this way. Some say it was because there was not enough sturdy bedrock to build more skyscrapers downtown. Others say it happened when Grand Central Station opened and made it easier for commuters to get into Midtown.

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New York City definitely proves to be an interesting case with two distinct Cores while most cites only have the single core. Mind you and as the CityLab article will further go on to say other cities have tried to build suburban “cores” (thus creating a dual core city) to limited success if not complete failure.

But what worked in New York may not work in other places. Cities from Paris to Shanghai have attempted to create “new” urban business districts with limited success. Not to mention the struggles that so many suburban “edge cities” are having today. In fact, in city after city across the U.S., suburban companies are headed back downtown to plug into their existing clusters and scenes.

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Auckland be definition runs two cores (as well as five industrial complexes) although the true centre of economic activity is in the main City Centre. However, despite history and given its future under Panuku Development Auckland as part of the Transform Manukau project, Manukau City Centre does act as a core although as a secondary one for a couple of reasons:

  1. Economic clout (see picture below)
  2. Location central to Southern Auckland (much as main City Centre is to Auckland)
  3. Retail, civic, hospitality and office agglomeration in servicing the South
  4. On major transport and transit links
  5. Nearby heavy industrial complexes


Manukau economic output as of 2015 Source: HLPP - Panuku
Manukau economic output as of 2015
Source: HLPP – Panuku


At the same time also from Panuku:

Panuku on Manukau (Panuku also reads the blog) Source: High Level Project Plan presentation to Auckland Council
Panuku on Manukau
(Panuku also reads the blog)
Source: High Level Project Plan presentation to Auckland Council


Manukau functioning as a second core (no other Metropolitan Centre in Auckland does or has that capacity (Albany might in 30 years time)) is one of complementary role to the main City Centre and should be recognised as such.


Economic Centre Moving South?

As the bulk of population is taking place in Southern Auckland and the Waikato (Hamilton) the question continues to remain around whether Auckland’s own economic centre will move South or will the current second but minor one called Manukau step up to a major role. Just as we see with New York with its Mid-Town and Wall Street cores.


Manukau City Centre in Cities Skylines
Manukau City Centre in Cities Skylines