Local and Auckland-wide facilities such as museums and art galleries, theatres, libraries, community centres, sports fields and playgrounds, and public places all play their part in helping people learn, socialise and connect with each other. They provide venues for recreation, arts, sports, and cultural events and community-led activities.
Not only do these social and cultural infrastructure and services provide opportunities for social interaction, many also encourage physical activity with its associated health and wellbeing benefits. Others stimulate the mind and encourage learning.
Local people and groups must be involved in their planning and development to ensure that services and facilities are responsive to local needs.
There are many barriers that prevent people from accessing services and facilities, such as affordability or social and cultural barriers. Providing affordable or free access to facilities, like council-operated pools, encourages children and young people to be active and healthy.
Homeless people experience disadvantage and value safe public places, like libraries, as a way to achieve important connections in the community.
Facilities should be accessible to all Aucklanders. Barriers to physical access (for example, from transport difficulties, disability or frailty) must be addressed through universal design. Find out more on the Auckland Universal Design website.
Community facilities, and the services they provide, also need to be welcoming, culturally safe, and relevant to, and reflective of, the communities they serve.
The under-provision of services needs to be addressed, alongside investment in new development areas and in existing areas that have significant population growth. We also need to make sure people have easy access to a range of social infrastructure across Auckland. Good public transport connections and options to walk and cycle help improve access to social and cultural infrastructure.
Development proposals that provide high-quality social infrastructure will be supported in areas of identified need, particularly in places easily accessible by public transport, cycling and walking.
It is essential that we plan and design services and infrastructure in such a way that they can adapt to different usage and demand over time.
We, therefore, need to better utilise existing facilities and develop new flexible and multi-purpose facilities.
Find out more by reading the Community Facilities Network and Action Plan.
How this can be done
Efforts to maximise the investment in social services and infrastructure can focus on:
- integrated and coordinated planning across services at the local level to consider the location of housing and economic uses alongside community facilities and services
- areas where there is current under-investment and areas where there is significant population growth and redevelopment
- creating quality public places and spaces
- ensuring our urban landscape has high amenity value as it forms part of people's social space
- providing social infrastructure that encourages people to be active
- optimising the performance of existing community infrastructure
- being innovative in how we develop and deliver social services and facilities, ensuring they are flexible to allow for different uses during their lifetime
- recognising and meeting local needs.