A Transit Line, A Transit Orientated Development, And Affordable Housing? 100,000 Residents in Manukau? No Sweat! #TransformManukau Part 30

Making best use of all worlds


While attention is focused on City Centre to Mangere Light Rail and the potential to uplift the City Centre (especially in terms of population and employment) (see: Auckland city centre: transport capacity and access trends. Final report) closer to home there have been musings to how Auckland’s largest Metropolitan Centre and Node would pan out in terms of employment and population as its own major transit line makes its way through the area.

That transit line is Airport to Botany Rapid Transit (done in two stages), the area is the 600 hectares known as Transform Manukau or Our Manukau. The role of Our Manukau (being delivered by Panuku Development Auckland) is to boost the population, and employment offerings in Manukau (a Node under the Auckland Plan) while also undertaking urban regeneration, making better use of under utilised land and connecting it all up to the Rapid Transit Network!


Example of an AP2050 Node – Manukau
Source: Auckland Council


The Our Manukau Framework Plan sets out in a clear manner the goals of what, when and how the urban regeneration of Manukau will be undertaken. This includes the future population of the Our Manukau area housing some 20,000 residents and around as many jobs. I always personally thought that was Panuku being conservative and it seems the Transport, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford is thinking the same.

Manukau Transform Project area (note the Unitary Plan zones have been updated since this map was published)
Source: Panuku Development Auckland

It has been mused that the 600 hectares that consists of Our Manukau could house 100,000 residents (without touching the heavy and light industry to the west of the area) with plenty more jobs to go around as well. I thought to myself that is five times more than what Panuku estimated but could it be done without touching the industrial land west of Druces Road and Puhinui Stream? The answer is yes it can and it will not mean high-rise buildings all over the place either.


So the question is where do the dwellings go, how will people move around and how does the amenity be maintained (which right now is coming off a low base) for these 100,000 residents?


Dwellings and Residents

When applying Urban Geography (that is spatial development and the variations within said development) to large urban regeneration projects such as Our Manukau (600 hectares where as the City Centre is around 385 hectares), trying to fit in 100,000 new residents will presents some complex challenges including:

  1. Existing residential population
  2. Existing infrastructure (physical and social)
  3. Transit (existing and future)
  4. Urban layout of existing area


Existing Urban Layout and Transit

The following picture is the Our Manukau area that falls within 800 metres of the Manukau Rail Station:

Goal 2.7 of Manukau Framework Plan
Source: Panuku Development Auckland


When you add the bus station and proposed Light Rail station just to the right of the rail station the 800 metre circle also captures Pacific Gardens/Rise/what-ever it’s called now with the 33 Great South Road and 362 busses able to capture Rata Vines and the south-east corner of the Our Manukau Area. Once Light Rail goes in (whether it is via Lambie Drive or Cavendish Drive to the existing transport interchange) the stations on (what becomes the Airport to Botany Rapid Transit)(the) line also have their 800 metre radii coming into effect as well. Basically all of Our Manukau is captured by at least one 800 metre catchment area.


The Southern Airport Line (Yellow) with LRT stations (red), potential central Manukau detour, bus routes and Manukau Bus/Rail Station


We also have to remember that even with the 800 metre radii around each transit station that the density will not be uniform – that is all high-rise. Scaling comes into play and was something mentioned recently in a presentation by Tom Young of Stantec on how Edmonton does its Transit Orientated Development (see: Edmonton_s Transit Oriented Development Journey – Tom Young ). In short you have four sets of radii that span out from each transit station (and also bus stops) each with a different form of density. As I also outlined in my The Southern Airport Line and Transit Orientated Developments. Rethinking Transit and Developments in Auckland post (as did Tom in his presentation) those radii are:

  • 200 metres
  • 400 metres
  • 800 metres
  • Up to around 1.6km

Each of those radii have different density forms as outline below:

Transit Orientated Developments creating Micro Centres

Like the Northern Airport Line, the Southern Airport Line offers a chance for Transit Orientated Development around each of the Lines’ stations. The beauty of the Southern Airport Line is that all of its stations along its 18km route are ripe for some good old fashion TODs! As a bonus most of the stations along the Southern Airport Line will also have cross-feeder busses running through them extending the accessibility of the Line and the viability of the TODs themselves:

Airport and bus line up
Source: https://www.scribd.com/document/365399828/Southern-Airport-Line-LRT-Alignment-Proposals-and-Final#


As for the TODs themselves I usually work them to an 800 metre maximum radius with a 200 metre and 400 metre set of radii inside that 800m max radius.

800 metres is traditionally the walk up catchment of a station or stop thus the 800m catchment is where you would do high density developments to make most use of the that station and its catchment. However, if the station is traversing through a low or medium density area (like Te Irirangi Drive and Puhinui Station does)  then making the entire 800 metre radius catchment dense development is going to give scale problems. Enter the 200 and 400 metre radii marks. 200 metres from the station is where you would do your most dense developments with the developments scaling down between the 200 and 400m mark and again from the 400-800m as the development transitions into the surrounding urban form.


For stations inside Manukau City Centre like the Manukau Central Station where the 800m radius mark is taken from the 200, 400 and 800m rules I would work a bit differently given stations inside Manukau City Centre will have overlapping 800m radii.

Your 400m and 800m radii still mark the transition of your urban form down as the Metropolitan Centre Zone phases into lower density zoning such as General Business, Mixed Use, Terraced Housing and Apartments or Light Industry just like you word normally with any TOD. The 200m radius where some of the most dense urban form might be found especially around Manukau Central Station is where I would focus niche, boutique and even artisan class types of urban form to both be an magnet to Manukau as well as give Manukau its sense of place unique to the City as a whole.

To further encourage this artisan type urban morphology around Manukau Central Station using the Gold Coast’s idea of transit malls and Panuku’s humanising of Manukau Station Road and Lambie Drive would certainly not go a miss.


Source: The Southern Airport Line and Transit Orientated Developments. Rethinking Transit and Developments in Auckland


All this couple with the Minister’s intention to pass a National Policy Statement that removes height and density rules on areas within 800 metres of a transit station and you have a blank canvas to work with in Manukau to deliver appropriately scaled urban developments to help drive towards the 100,000 resident mark.



This Tweet sums it up nicely:

100,000 people inside 600 hectares means some serious amenity will be needed to draw in residents and more to the point keeping them there. Giving priority to transit, cycling and walking inside the Our Manukau area also means they are likely to shop and even possible work inside said area meaning less car trips – often across the City (hello Climate Change). Remember it is not just about plopping down a transit line, some apartments, maybe a park or two then calling it a day, it is also and fundamentally about the human element as well (see: #TransformManukau – Missing the Human Element. Part 8 of the Manukau City Centre – The Transform Series).


Key Move 2: Creating a Vibrant Heart in Manukau.
Source: Panuku Development Auckland


Can 100,000 people fit inside the Our Manukau area? 

Essentially yes with a bit of work around our Planning Rules (that National Policy Statement), some transit and amenity investment and finally some rezoning to the north of the Our Manukau area (mainly Lambie Drive). Having Light Industry zoning between Lambie Drive and the Great South Road north of Cavendish Drive is not the most productive use of land for the northern area of Our Manukau. Not when commercial and residential uses have crept into the area for the last decade! Rezoning for Mixed Use that allows commercial and residential to a height of 25 metres or around 6 storeys (I am aware of the flight path) to develop as the market sees fit. Puhinui Gateway to the west of Our Manukau is zoned Light Industry so we do have land available for industry that might be displaced (what little is left of it there).


100,000 people in Manukau by the end of the Our Manukau plan (30 years)?

I say why not!


Aerial photo of Manukau centre. Panuku Development Auckland