Rather than get distracted by the stadium debate, we need to urgently acknowledge that unlocking this land now for future integration into the CBD is critical for Auckland’s future, aruges Paul Winstanley.
Don’t be fooled. This is not just another story about the waterfront stadium. Well, not really. Like the mayor has said, there are far more important things for Auckland to sort out first. Things like housing, transport, the economy – the bedrock of any world-class, liveable city.
However, these are not individual strands that can be improved in isolation of one another. City planning is like trying to solve an infinite Rubik’s cube, meaning we are only ever custodians of a city’s well-being, never its owner. Our bare minimum responsibility is to not complicate the puzzle further for future generations to unpick. Our goal should always be to ensure we leave these strands better developed and more aligned.
Amid bleaker moments, Auckland has a proud history of visionary custodianship, from Dove-Myer Robinson’s environmentalism to the recent revitalisation of Britomart and Wynyard Quarter. And as Auckland’s population continues to grow, so too does the urgency with which we need to prepare for it. It’s now up to us to not dither; to have the courage of our convictions to lay the platform for Auckland to be the city we hope it can be.
And at the heart of this is a 14 hectare car park on Auckland’s waterfront. The key to our future masquerading as a shrine to our past.
Cast your eye over our crane-strewn skyline and you could be forgiven for thinking we’re already well-placed to grow into the world-class city we aspire to be. However, only a fraction of this development is catering for residential growth.
Stats NZ, a department not given to hyperbole, predicts that by 2043 the CBD will need to accommodate a residential population of 86,000 – an additional 37,000 people representing a 75% population increase in less than 25 years. So assuming average household sizes in the CBD remain at 2.2 residents as per census data, to cater for this growth Auckland will need a minimum of 677 new residential units every year for the next quarter of a century just to keep up. So how are we tracking?
If you take a look at every new dwelling that’s even so much as in the proposal phase,