What to do with all this Blank Land inside #OurManukau

Mixed Use and Parks, LOTS of parks

Late last year it was reported that Panuku were seeking development partners for various surface parking lots inside the #OurManukau Transform Area. These lots mainly were centred around the current Manukau Rail and Bus Stations and upcoming Airport to Botany Rapid Transit Manukau Station. See: #OurManukau Set for Major Development: Some Urban Geography Thoughts on my Home undergoing transformation change

From Hayman Park to Manukau City Centre Could this be a cafe/bar/hospitality corridor for Manukau City Centre?
Looking down Davis Ave towards MIT from Hayman Park

With Airport to Botany Stage 1 (Airport to Manukau) due to be completed December 2020 and final route selection to be known very soon, I was thinking over the summer break what to do with all these surface parking lots that Panuku want to develop.

First blocks of land to be developed via Panuku and the market.

As we can see from the above picture, there are two distinct North-South spines which would be developed differently to each other. This is because the Local Urban Geography is heterogeneous rather than uniform.

Davies Avenue potential axis Source: Panuku

Davies Avenue Axis

Davies Avenue’s Urban Geography consists of:

  • The Manukau Transit Stations
  • MIT
  • Bus Routes heading North and to the Airport
  • One of two connections to Puhinui Park Residential Development
  • Flanked by Hayman Park on one side
  • and the largest of the available blank lots on the opposite side

This makes the Davies Avenue Axis more suitable for high density Residential Development and supporting Civic Spaces. However, sticking up 18 storey apartment blocks and leaving it at that is just as bad as building two storey houses out in the whops. This is because we have failed to provide the supporting infrastructure and other amenities.

Infrastructure and amenities would include:

  • Micro Parks
  • Convenience Retail
  • Small format office space
  • Possibility of community spaces including Reading Rooms

Urban Design is equally as critical as we humans will take the shortest and most efficient path possible from A to B. Sight lines are equally as important as obstructed spaces can lead to the Geography of Fear of Crime. Fear of Crime being the perception of crime regardless whether it is happening or not with the consequence being amenities are under utilised by the wider population especially women and people of colour.

Straight paths while physically boring promote efficient travel and mitigate the issues from Fear of Crime. This is critical for when Residential Spaces are built.

Aerial photo of Manukau centre. Source: Panuku

Osterley Way Axis

Osterley Way runs parallel to Davies Avenue however its Urban Geography is very different. It is serviced by Transit at each end and is flanked by office, retail and civic spaces. Future Developments possibly include hotels, hospitality areas and expanded civic/retail spaces. Osterley Way is also prime to become a pedestrian mall for most of its length. At its edges Osterley Way also links up Government Infrastructure such as the Police, Courts and Council to the rest of Manukau and Southern Auckland.

We cannot forget one of the main anchors of Manukau, the Westfield Mall itself which generates a significant amount of walking and motorised traffic.

Manukau Plaza 2015

As a result of the above Urban Geography Treatments of the Osterley Way Axis would fall under a different prescription than the Davis Avenue Axis. Any Urban Development along the Osterley Way Axis must minimise or mitigate the generation of motorised traffic. This is because Osterley Way runs right up the guts of Manukau City Centre. Thus your minimisation and mitigation techniques must draw any traffic away from the spine.

Sight lines are again important especially on Fear of Crime grounds and wanting to run a night economy in Manukau which Osterley Way would become a core of. I would avoid residential development as part of a mixed use development due to the proximity of hospitality areas. Those residential developments are better supported on the Davis Avenue Axis. In saying that this does not prevent commercial service, commercial retail and commercial office developments.

Goal 2.8 of Manukau Framework Plan Source: Panuku Development Auckland

Manukau Station Road Area

There are a couple of blank lots of land in the Manukau Station Road that are also prime for development with MIT due to expand and Te Papa North on its way I am reluctant to place any residential development along Manukau Station Road even though Airport to Botany Rapid Transit will run through the area. This is because the government is still working out for itself whether to establish more satellite Government Departments and Ministries as a result of the Kaikoura Earthquake a couple of years ago. Until this matter is decided those spaces are best used as parks or even parking.

manukau-station-road-bus-lanes-2 Auckland Transport

In conclusion the lots that Panuku are wishing to develop require different Urban Geography treatments. Just because one area is suitable for residential does not mean the other area is. However, the same Urban Geography Principles of Sight Lines, Fear of Crime and the most efficient transport route do apply. I sincerely hope Panuku will all their powers to make sure we get quality Mixed Use Developments and not hulking ill-fitted vertical sprawl.