Some Good – Some Bad This morning I was at a networking breakfast hosted by Auckland Transport to businesses in the Manukau, Wiri and Highbrook areas. Auckland Transport were … Continue reading Manukau Updates
Lessons from Don Draper (for Planners) – From Planetizen I caught this real gem from Planetizen on Planners needing to think like Don Draper from the Mad Men series. … Continue reading How Don Draper Could Help Our Planners
Suburban Sprawl – Exposing Hidden Costs and Identifying Innovations That is the titular title of the 42 page PDF document on urban sprawl that is embedded in this blog … Continue reading Reading Material on Unchecked Urban Sprawl
For Everyone or A Select Minority
I think this picture from the Sydney Morning Herald piece on ‘Resident Groups’ was rather apt when I saw it:
The Dog-eat-Dog situation that can erupt (and did) when it comes to planning – especially large-scale planning like the Unitary Plan (and soon Area Plans).
From the SMH on the Dog-Eat-Dog World that is Associations and Planning
Planning for all, not the loudest few
- December 26, 2013
Sydney Morning Herald columnist, author, architecture critic and essayist
Residents groups are relentless in their demands for more ”consultation” – by which they really mean the right to insist on their own views.
Moody morning. Bruised sky. Feels like the morning after. I’m walking the dog but the ambience is more hair of the dog.
I’m thinking about this habitat we make. This lovely, mazy, fecund, fetid city and the extraordinary dogfight we’re having over it. I’m thinking about how we’ve bashed the bejesus out of planning. Literally.
A relentless and emotive campaign for your own interest is not consultation. It’s lobbying.
Of all disciplines, planning demands a God’s-eye point of view. It needs to grasp the big swirling patterns we make, how they smell and feel up close and how they ramify through the aeons. It’s a job for a sage, or a prophet. But we go at it like crazed pygmies.
“Hey, Sis!” someone calls. I love that. In my neighbourhood only Aboriginal people call you Sis. I love how it makes you feel part of the gang – although, frankly, it’s not a gang to which many people aspire and, even more frankly, you know they probably just want money.This skinny kid is no exception. “Hey, Sis! Ya got 30 cents for a phone call?” I say no, which is true. Walking the dog, who carries cash?
Then I think, 30 cents? I’m worrying about my Wi-Fi speed and the ratbag who refuses to fix my dishwasher and how on earth you’re supposed to have a million bucks worth of super if you didn’t even get onto it until, like, last week. And this boy hasn’t got a phone? Even a landline?
So I track back and offer my iPhone. True, I remove the credit card, but that’s my bad. The boy doesn’t do a runner. He makes the call, two calls, and it’s fine. Except it makes me cry a little because, what can you do?
I’ve lived around here 15 years but I’ve been crying a lot lately, mostly for the poor old human race, trashed by systems that should protect it: especially those who most need protecting, and especially the systems they most need. Like planning. What a snafu.
Dogfights are not uncommon in the hood. People have pit bulls. It’s that kind of place. But these fights are nothing beside the self-concerned snarling and spitting we’ve had lately over planning.
Perhaps I should be pleased. I’ve yearned for planning to be controversial. Argued that way for years. But it’s all so crude, so emotive, so profoundly selfish. Where, I wonder, do the middle classes get off?
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/planning-for-all-not-the-loudest-few-20131225-2zwel.html#ixzz2qP49uJx8
“But it’s all so crude, so emotive, so profoundly selfish. Where, I wonder, do the middle classes get off?”
So true when it came to the Unitary Plan debate. The biggest noise makers came from:
- Eastern Isthmus
- Lower North Shore
- A select few local boards right across the City
- Auckland 2040 lobby group (as that is all they are – no point dressing it up as something else)
Unfortunately though the out noise makers spooked our Councillors prior to the elections and the Unitary Plan was watered down to more restrictive planning than what is in our current legacy plans. This will have to be reversed and again liberalised when we face the Commissioners later on this year. None-the-less for some of the more progressive ones out there, attention has turned to the Area Plans which are due to be released next month where the foundations for more “progressive” planning can take place. Effectively and for example Manukau City Centre I could lobby for some provisions for higher density developments inside the Metropolitan Zone. If someone from say Auckland 2040 (based on the Shore) comes over and tries to push for low density developments in the Manukau Metropolitan Zone they could be told to take a hike and go back to their own area.
This can lead to the question of what about the Unitary Plan as that is a regional document. For example in my Unitary Plan submission I could say that the minimum zone for all residential areas in the old Auckland City Council Isthmus area should be Mixed Housing Urban rather than Mixed Housing Suburban or Single Housing Zone. But in the Area Plans I could tell the North Shore based Auckland 2040 group to keep their nose out of the Manukau Area Plans. So the question is how do we reconcile this kind of situation and avoid Dog-Eat-Dog problems.
The answer is a perplexing one however, for Manukau as it is a second tier centre (along with Albany) with very wide implications when its Area Plan gets drawn up. For me I would be welcoming of those outside South Auckland to participate in the Manukau Area Plan. Mind you in saying that keep your NIMBYism at home. It is often good to get outside eyes casting over plans in case something went amiss. That said we will have to see how Area Plans play out from next month when the timetable is released.
Continuing from the SMH:
The plethora of residents’ lobby groups has coalesced into the Better Planning Network, which is at least reasonably smart and big-picture. But the groups themselves are relentless in their demands for more ”consultation” – by which they really mean the right to insist on their own views, amenity, traffic ease, property values.
A relentless and emotive campaign for your own interest is not consultation. It’s lobbying; no different from the oil or coal lobby.
No point dressing mutton up as lamb okay. It is what it is – a lobby group campaigning for their own interest disguised as “advocacy” on behalf of wider Auckland. Say hello to Auckland 2040 – a coalition of “advocates” forming up to create a rather large lobby group.
From their opening lines:
Auckland 2040 is committed to ensuring that the future development of Auckland under the Auckland Unitary Plan balances the need for intensification with protecting the character of our residential areas
From their actions in the last set of stages of the Unitary Plan prior to the election you can see how Auckland 2040 fits into the last SMH quote above I pasted in. Auckland 2040 though while they got a few minor victories they took a heck of a debunking in the social media realm and lost overall especially when Councillors George Wood and Wayne Walker were re-elected to this Council.
It should be scribed on the soul of every planner. The only reason to have planning is to protect the weak. Weak people, weak causes; assets to which capitalism assigns no value. Heritage. Access. Clean air. Clean water. The unvoiced.
In other words, planning exists not to facilitate capitalism but judiciously to oppose it. This is something neither governments nor residents seem to understand.
The government, contrary to its promises, goes on broadening its discretion, as an outright invitation to corruption. And the rezzies go on issuing demands. No one argues for what is right, just for what they want. “Commit to a solution that is acceptable to us!” said one.
But that’s idiotic. Planning is like traffic rules. You don’t want an argument at every intersection. That’s not democracy. It’s a big family of only children, each defending their own ugly solipsism.
Planning should ban the rebuilding of hopelessly fire-prone bush-hamlets. It should ban building on the Hawkesbury floodplains, aged-care down bush cul-de-sacs and all development in water catchments.
It should preserve agriculture, prioritise public transport, fund public infrastructure and provide cheap inner-city public housing.
Our rules should not be a balance of competing me-isms. Rather, they should embody a shared view of what is best for us all. It’s not rocket science, but it must at least attempt a God-view.
“No one argues for what is right, just for what they want. “Commit to a solution that is acceptable to us!” said one.” – reminds me of that err silly person from the Orakei Local Board area at a Unitary Plan public meeting last year where he stated “he did not want change at all.” A pity no one told him to take his blinkers off as the area has changed from paddocks to what it is now – and is still evolving today and will continue to do so tomorrow and beyond. Then again Councillor Brewer was no better when he said in a Auckland Plan Committee meeting last year that he lived in Ellersile and that intensification can happen anywhere – just not his backyard. So much for the neo-liberal principles he is meant to adhere too. Neo Liberal principles that dictate liberal planning methods that allow the market to cater for what the consumer wants (that might be a low-rise apartment building in Ellersile) no what Cameron Brewer wants.
“Planning should ban the rebuilding of hopelessly fire-prone bush-hamlets. It should ban building on the Hawkesbury floodplains, aged-care down bush cul-de-sacs and all development in water catchments.”
That kind of planing is mitigation planning to prevent disasters from happening. Planning does have that role to play in mitigation in order to not put or rather allow people in harm’s way, or to preserve areas where we can see resources from (water). The only problem is that we like the Australians are not very good at mitigation planning.
Finally: “Our rules should not be a balance of competing me-isms. Rather, they should embody a shared view of what is best for us all. It’s not rocket science, but it must at least attempt a God-view.”
And there is the $64 million question that would take a team of PhD philosophers a Century to answer…
Disclaimer: I do participate actively to the Auckland Council on:
- Urban Planning
- Transport Planning
- Urban Design
Thus I do advocate Council ideas, alternatives, and constructive criticisms on policies, projects and other matters concerning Council and Auckland. Current lobbying has been occurring extensively with Manukau amongst other situations out there in Auckland. I do not hide the fact that I have a strong interest in Auckland politics thus advocate and participate. However, to make it clear I do not lobby for my own personal thus selfish gains or protection (although I have my own values, morals and ideology), I advocate for what I believe would be good for the wider community and wider Auckland. It is about THEM – not me – that is how I advocate.
Any queries feel free to leave a comment below
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Agenda Out – and its a large one at that
The Auckland Development Committee (the final name for the Urban/Rural Development Committee) (successor to the Auckland Plan Committee) agenda is now out on the council website. However, at 47MB and at 367 pages long – not including my 100 page contribution (yet) I will embed the agenda below for your viewing pleasure (while not breaking your phone or tablet).
The Auckland Development Agenda – 28th November
As it is noted I am due to give a presentation in the beginning of the piece however the presentation and complementary booklet were not attached to the agenda. To be honest that does not bother me as I released a “revision” of complementary booklet after I sent the original files to Council.
You can view the presentation slides and the complementary book – which gives context to the wider presentation below:
The Developing a 21st Century Auckland Presentation Booklet
The Developing 21st Century Auckland (main) Presentation slides
Manukau Concept Drawings & 3D Sketch-Up Mock Ups
The material is all free to download as you wish, just please respect any Copyright’s or Creative Commons Licences that are attached (if applicable)
9:30am, 28th November – Level 2 Reception Lounge, Town Hall, Auckland