Up, Out or Something Else?

By Michael Edmonds 23/06/2013 9


As the population of Auckland increases there is greater demand for accommodation. Over the past few months debates have gone on over whether the city needs to expand outwards (using more land) or upwards (more intensive housing e.g. apartments).

But are these the only two options? Do we really need our biggest city to keep getting bigger? What about some more lateral thinking?

For example, what if the government encouraged investment in one of the smaller cities in New Zealand, one that has room to expand? Wouldn’t an increase in the population of another city have it’s own benefits? The Australians created their capital city out of virtually nothing. Surely there are more possible answers than up or out?


9 Responses to “Up, Out or Something Else?”

  • This is something I’ve been wondering about too. Why the apparently blind faith that NZ’s economic wellbeing can be served only by endless growth in Auckland? Providing incentives for businesses to grow/relocate elsewhere would surely help both the provinces (& other, smaller cities) & Auckland, with commensurate improvements in quality of life all round.

    • It seems to me there are a lot of good reasons to focus more on growing smaller cities or even creating new ones. Imagine the amount of time lost by those who have to commute for several hours a day in Auckland.
      Also consider how vulnerable focusing a lot of resources in one city. Christchurch isn’t even our largest city yet it has had a noticiable effect on our economy. Imagine if a major disaster took our parts of Auckland (and I tihnk many of us can remember the chaos which occurred when Auckland city power systems failed a few years ago).
      These days with electronic technology you can hold meetings via Skype or similar technologies so not everyone needs to be in the same place.
      I wonder what cities could be focued on for growth? A rapid transport system between Hamilton could even physically link two potentially major cities. What about Gisborne? Palmerston North? New Plymouth? A new city in the upper North Island? All could have benefits. And housing would be cheaper.

  • If you look carefully, big cities like Chch are a group of small towns these days. The rise of the suburban mall means most people don’t even go to the “city centre” any more, for anything other than office jobs. With the earthquakes removing the centre of Chch, most offices have spread to the suburbs as well, meaning the “intersecting small town” system will be even stronger. Certainly some things benefit from being centralised, but for the most part, it’s not needed.

  • gravitational mass works in a variety of settings. Auckland (and Sydney, and London, and New York, and etc etc) are just an example of the concept in geo-economic settings. By and large, a large centre will attract population to itself.

    You could incentivise to take industry to a different location, but how long do you want to do that for?

    The best way to encourage growth in other centres has already been identified – stop spending on Auckland’s traffic infrastructure. As it becomes too expensive to transact in Auckland, business and people will move elsewhere.

    Only trouble is, elsewhere isn’t necessarily in NZ…

  • It’s perhaps worth remembering that Christchurch was growing before the earthquakes. I forget the exact placings now, but I am certain it grew from NZ’s third largest city to it’s second-largest. (Does anyone know if it was once fourth largest?)

  • Auckland City no longer exists. The name of the Auckland Region is defined, in law, as Auckland. Hence “The Auckland Council.”

    it used to be 7 now it is one.

    Personally I think the concept of growing satellites around Auckland is the logical approach for a variety of reasons. Think of an extra 20,000 in Pokeno (existing railway connection) 20,000 at Tuakau (existing railway connection) 50,000 Pukekohe (existing railway connection) 20,000 Kumeu (existing railway connection) 50,000 Helensville (existing railway connection.) That’s 160,000 for a start. Smaller towns have a much greater sense of community. Large apartment block have next to no sense of community.

    Infill has already resulted in the spending of billion$ on upgrading stormwater/sewagewater/telecommunications and roading. With greenfields people buy into the new development styles (including terraced housing/large scale town houses) without upsetting neighbours (eg, Stonefields/Hobsonville point). Retrofitting hi density housing into existing healthy suburbs just causes angst and stress.

    There are certainly some old areas that need to be given some life… a classic example is the old industrial area along Henderson Valley Road. There are dozens of offices/factories/other buildings vacant as people move to more efficient new buildings elsewhere. Given the location adjacent to the transport centre/rail and Henderson (which in my opinion also needs to be totally rebuilt/redesigned) this area could easily accommodate higher density accommodation.

    If Auckland is already in the top 10 most livable cities in the World, why destroy its character?