High quality document sets out Manukau’s future
On Friday Panuku Development Auckland released the Manukau Framework Plan that outlines Manukau’s potential for the next twenty-five years. You can read the release of the Framework Plan here: #TransformManukau Becomes #ourmanukau as Framework Plan Released. An embedded and downloadable version of the Framework Plan will be at the bottom of this post.
Over the weekend (when not doing surveys in Manukau itself) I sat down and read the Manukau Framework Plan beginning-to-end and cast my thoughts over the document itself and its importance for the future of Manukau as the Meeting Place of the South (or Thriving Heart and South of the South per Panuku). First though a disclaimer.
Disclaimer with Transform Manukau
I have been involved in an amateur capacity (so non-paid nor contracted to Panuku) with Transform Manukau since Manukau was given its Transform ranking by Auckland Council in late 2015. My role as an advocate and commentator from Southern Auckland was providing feedback to Panuku in helping them shape the High Level Plan (live from April 2016) and this Framework Plan that went live last week. That said I am just one of many people and groups who have worked or advised Panuku through from inception, to today and through until tomorrow as Manukau embarks on its urban regeneration program.
The journey is not over yet with implementation getting under way and things like surveys to be done. Any “sponsored” posts will be marked as such (as per blog policy) as the need arises.
Lead up to the Framework Plan
When Transform Manukau was first envisaged Panuku had set about eight goals for the area’s future. Those goals were:
Remembering Manukau contributes the following:
Thus this is the reason why Manukau was chosen:
Fast forward to today and from the above did five ‘key moves’ for the urban regeneration of Manukau come about. Those five key moves being (and what they envisage):
Key move one – Realising the potential of the Puhinui Stream
Puhinui Stream will link neighbourhoods and provide high quality open space for all to enjoy. It will be an exemplar project for ecological, social, cultural and economic transformation.
Key elements of the move include:
1. Linking key destinations
- completing the ‘missing link’ through the District Health Board block
- better connections to the Manukau Harbour
- better connections to Auckland Botanic Gardens
2. Creating a conceptual ‘diversion’ through central Manukau
- beautifying Barrowcliffe Bridge
3. Expanding open spaces and facilities
- developing key open spaces, and improving their recreational and other uses (e.g. Hayman Park, Barrowcliffe, the Auckland Botanic Gardens and a new wetland domain at Wiri).
4. Establishing a functioning eco system
- practising kaitiakitanga and working with local people to restore the mauri of the stream and its surrounds
Key move two – Creating a vibrant heart
The focus will be to create a healthy and vibrant heart at the core of central Manukau that can radiate out to surrounding areas.
Key elements of the move include:
- supporting residential development
- enriching leisure and cultural destination opportunities including Te Papa Manukau and new hotel developments, along with improving the links between existing attractions
- improvements to the Civic Building and Kōtuku House
- expanding and diversifying the retail offer to include mixed-use development on the Westfield Manukau City car parks
- developing new commercial office space for key tenants
- reimagining the public spaces including Manukau Plaza, Putney Way as a main street, Osterley Way as a north–south link, Amersham Way as a hospitality-focused street, Hayman Park as a destination park and Manukau Station Road as a boulevard.
Key move three – Developing the Wiri healthy neighbourhood
The Wiri neighbourhood, lying to the south of State Highway 20, will become a place where people can live in healthy homes, in safe neighbourhoods with good schools, and benefit from improved health services that foster healthy living.
Key elements of the move include:
1. Increasing housing supply and choice in Wiri:
- with the progressive replacement of 380 existing Housing New Zealand homes over time to create up to 1180 new homes, as well as 400 new homes on the District Health Board site
- at least 200 homes at the Barrowcliffe site which will be part of a urban neighbourhood planned by Panuku
- 900 homes on the Pacific Gardens Special Housing Area site on Great South Road (note from admin: total yield is actually 1,150 homes)
2. Developing new street patterns to improve connections in the area
3. New and improved open spaces along the Puhinui Stream and a new wetland domain in Wiri
4. An increase in community services and facilities, with a focus on children and young people, and potentially including new leisure facilities
Key move four – Harnessing learning and innovation opportunities
Learning and innovation are seen as a cornerstone of changing how Manukau functions – empowering the local community to drive economic prosperity.
The building blocks are already there with improving early childhood education participation and a rapidly increasing tertiary presence in the area.
There will be a particular focus on local community and social enterprise, iwi and pasifika enterprise and harnessing growth sectors (health, food and environmental tech, and advanced manufacturing).
Key elements of the move include:
- a learning network which encourages collaboration between learning establishments providing a complete learning pathway from early childhood through to further education and training, and onto employment.
- The Southern Initiative’s local enterprise and innovation initiatives, including the Makerhood, and Māori and Pasifika trades and training programmes
- the Manukau Innovation Neighbourhood as a means of engaging large-scale local employers to grow local innovation and talent
- an integrated energy initiative to explore the potential for collective local energy solutions
- a multipurpose learning and innovation centre
- a shift to innovative learning environments in schools that prepare children to play their part in the Manukau of the future.
Key move five – Enhancing community connectivity
Manukau will continue to be transformed from a car-based centre. There will be better connections to surrounding communities through improved public transport, and easier walking and cycling options.
Key elements of the move include:
- upgrading Great South Road as an important north–south urban avenue
- delivering a mass transit route from the airport to Botany, via central Manukau
- creating a comprehensive cycle network
- making it easy, safe and attractive to walk around Manukau.
Key Moves 2 and 5 I will focus in on later in the series.
Framework Plan Hits the Mark
So does the Framework Plan for #ourmanukau have the goods for #TransformManukau?
Yes it does.
For me with the Framework Plan it was whether:
- the Framework and Panuku would be stuck in the past focusing on the physical geography side with big monoliths, towers everywhere, sprawling open space and wondering why the place is rather drab (rather how Manukau is now)
- OR the primary focus of the Framework is on the human geography side – the human scale where spaces are interactive and alive.
Apart from ‘Key Move Three’ (Puhinui Stream) (to which I reserve judgement on for now) the rest of the Plan and the other Key Moves focus on the human geography side – the human scale. So an ‘A’ for the Framework Plan with the rest coming down to the individual Implementation Plans for the respective Key Moves. The Framework Plan’s focus has gone to great lengths to focus on the human elements to drive the urban regeneration of Manukau City Centre and its surrounds. Key Moves 2 and 5 (Vibrant Heart, and Connectivity with wider Southern Auckland) will be the true tests of the human element drive in Manukau’s urban regeneration program. That is why those two moves I will be focusing on however, all moves will be kept an eye on.
An extract from #TransformManukau – Missing the Human Element. Part 8 of the Manukau City Centre – The Transform Series which formed my evaluation of the Framework Plan
2) Bringing the Local to Manukau
One thing Panuku made very clear in their sit down is that Manukau is great with the regional stuff like the mall, large format retail, Rainbows End, the police HQ and the courts. But what is missing in Manukau is the local stuff that would make people want to stay, linger, socialise or even live in Manukau rather than this 9-5 transactional economy Manukau currently has.
As I quoted above we are great at the physical stuff (and often that is where the regional stuff is often placed) but we are lagging in the human stuff (where the local would sit) that humanises a centre especially a Metropolitan Centre.
So what is the local stuff needed to humanise the Metropolitan Centre that is Manukau City Centre (and its surrounds)? Well a critical mass of a permanent population base (whether it be apartments in Manukau City Centre itself or terraced housing in the residential estates south of Manukau City Centre) would be a good start as that critical mass attracts commercial development (viability) and further investment from the public sector (Council and Government). The commercial development especially if things like bars, cafes, and small format retail would give people a reason to stay, linger, socialise, and attract more people to live and work in Manukau.
A risk though in driving for that critical mass of a permanent residential population in Manukau is that the new residential population decide to go elsewhere to socialise and even work resulting in Manukau still losing out as a 9-5 transactional economy.
The question is though what goes first to attract people to Manukau in order to build that critical mass and bring that Local (the people) to Manukau? Do we go with the physical stuff first like big apartment blocks or even more offices followed by open spaces or do we go open spaces first THEN the apartment blocks and offices? If I put my Cities Skylines hat on we go open spaces first then the apartments and offices.
The reason for going for the open spaces first is two-fold:
- Increase the quality of the area already to existing users
- Make the area more attractive to new residents and workers
There is also a third reason being cheaper to lay down first rather than retrofit later on when the developments are completed.
Good open spaces right off the bat before the development for new residents and workers also gives reason for existing users of Manukau to socialise, linger and even purchase more services and goods. This in turn through Economics 101 acts as the catalyst to more wanting to come to the area in both living, shopping, working, and selling those goods and services. But remember the aim is to bring the local (the people) to Manukau.
Large format retail form good regional anchors and have a place in Manukau given Manukau is the regional hub for half a million people. But the encouragement is also needed on small format retail including hospitality to give the people inclusionary feel of a and in a large Centre (Manukau can be rather isolating to a person or a group of people). And to do this we need to understand both the people already coming to Manukau like myself and those already in Manukau like the businesses in order so that we can be good active front seat drivers to Transform Manukau (rather than a passenger steering out the window bored silly).
As for Key Move 3 – Puhinui Stream I had mentioned early that drew a reserved judgement from me the question is why? The problem with Puhinui Stream is that it is flanked by Housing New Zealand properties in the Wiri reaches with those properties facing their backs to the stream rather than their fronts. To have your back to the stream means often a 1.8 metre high fence isolating the property from the stream. This means despite is decent stream edge and path network Puhinui Stream is an isolated walkway that you might travel through rather than linger and socialise.
Key Move 3 has the stream opened up with cycle paths, pedestrian paths and park infrastructure (benches etc.) to encourage interaction as imagined in the picture further up the post. The catch is Key Move 3 is reliant on Housing New Zealand doing some regeneration of its housing stock in the area and having that renewed housing open to the stream-side rather than isolated out. Without that housing open to the stream the Puhinui Stream regeneration risks losing the human element and continue being a physical space with no human soul.
None-the-less the Framework is pretty solid and if projects like Manukau Station Road regeneration can be pulled off then the future of Manukau is looking bright.
So a big well done and thank you to Panuku Development Auckland and all those involved bringing the Manukau Framework Plan to life.
Key Moves 2 and 5 the focus
In the next couple of #TransformManukau posts I will be covering Key Move Two: Creating a vibrant heart, and Key Move Five: Enhancing community connectivity to see how they line up with previous posts covering human scale development and walkable transit orientated developments.
The Manukau Framework Plan