Is Auckland Learning from Us?
With the launch of the Centre City Plan discussion document, has Auckland shown that it is more prepared than Wellington to put in place some realistic 21st Century, urban design thinking?
Does this sound familiar? – A city needing to find a way of connecting itself to its harbour where a major road is in the way; a need for more and better public transport with light-rail and trams firmly in the front running; a desire for more, and useable, city parks; better protection of heritage buildings; serious, dedicated cycleways (not ones shared with cars) and becoming an Eco City?
This is a city actively engaging with its inhabitants through good urban thinking. It’s also a city trying hard to put right some abysmal urban issues that have cemented themselves into the city’s fabric through lack of thought for people (pedestrians over the easy acknowledgement of cars and commerce. Auckland is realising that, in the small world of the 21st Century, a city is a 24 hour inorganic being: by day a centre of commerce and ‘out-of-hours’ a place for living. As a city, it must cope with both. As part of this 21st century, it must also consider its future consequences.
Wellington is a very special city that has shown intent by electing a very Green mayor. Its Council has taken the opportunity to consider its future by producing its 2040 document but are we showing our normal vision or has Auckland finally stolen our thunder?
Today Wellington is a city occupied by a shrinking public servant population and one where institutional commerce left years ago. It is blessed by its wild topography, which has forced a compact city to form. The struggling business community is keen as ever for direction and certainty so can our Council deliver?
Please give us: a city fit for people and business, but with people first; a place that recognizes the world is depleting its resources and its climate is changing radically by emphasizing its lead of Greenness; a Council that is united and clear in making decisions lead by its mayor and above all, a group of people that lead rather than follow, with intelligent and well informed thought.
Well done Auckland – it’s not ‘rocket science’ to get it right.
[This article appears on the Arch Centre website where Dennis also frequently contributes]
- Posted Sept. 5, 2011