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Auckland Council The Auckland Plan

Te whanaketanga me te huringa o Tāmaki Makaurau? – He tirohanga tūhonohono kounga

How Auckland will grow and change - a quality compact approach

Auckland will take a quality compact approach to growth and development.

A compact Auckland means future development will be focused in existing and new urban areas within Auckland's urban footprint, limiting expansion into the rural hinterland. 

By 2050, most growth will have occurred within this urban footprint, particularly focused in and around:

What quality means

The quality aspect of this approach means that:

  • most development occurs in areas that are easily accessible by public transport, walking and cycling
  • most development is within reasonable walking distance of services and facilities including centres, community facilities, employment opportunities and open space
  • future development maximises efficient use of land
  • delivery of necessary infrastructure is coordinated to support growth in the right place at the right time.

What compact means

The compact aspect of this approach means that:

  • future development will be focused within Auckland's urban footprint, with most of that growth occurring in existing urban areas
  • by 2050, most growth will have occurred within this urban footprint, limiting both expansion into the rural hinterland and rural land fragmentation.

This approach contributes to investment certainty by understanding where and when growth is likely to occur.


The benefits of a quality compact Auckland

The benefits of a quality compact approach to growth and development are:

  • greater productivity and economic growth – a compact urban form increases economic productivity from the greater proximity between firms, workers and consumers

  • better use of existing infrastructure – growing within existing urban areas makes more efficient use of existing assets. Providing physical and social infrastructure costs less per household, which results in a higher overall level of service

  • improved transport outcomes – a compact urban form brings more people closer to their place of work. Greater population density supports faster, more frequent public transport services. Both reduce congestion on the road network and create a more efficient transport network overall
  • rural productivity and character can be maintained – encouraging growth within urban areas helps to protect rural environments from urban encroachment, and maintain the productive capability of the land and its rural character

  • enhanced environmental outcomes – adverse effects of urban activities are concentrated into fewer receiving environments. Growth creates more opportunities for environmental enhancement, particularly as part of infrastructure upgrades

  • greater social and cultural vitality – concentrating activity into urban centres and neighbourhoods provides a wider variety of activities to meet the full range of people's needs. This brings diversity and vibrancy into the urban environment which in turn enhances interaction and social cohesion.

How this will be achieved

The quality compact approach to future development will be achieved by:

  • ensuring sufficient capacity for growth across Auckland
  • embedding good design in all development
  • sequencing what gets delivered
  • aligning the timing of infrastructure provision with development
  • supporting rural production.

Ensuring sufficient capacity for growth across Auckland

An on-going supply of development capacity has to be maintained to meet demand.

The National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity requires Auckland Council to ensure that, at any one time, there is sufficient development capacity for housing and business growth.

This means:

  • short term (1 – 3 years) development capacity must be feasible, zoned and serviced with development infrastructure
  • medium term (4 – 10 years) development capacity must be feasible, zoned and either serviced with development infrastructure, or have funding identified in the council’s Long-term Plan
  • long term (11 – 30 years) development capacity must be feasible, identified in relevant plans and strategies, with the required development infrastructure identified in the council’s Infrastructure Strategy.

The Auckland Unitary Plan provides enabled capacity to build around one million additional dwellings. This is significantly more than the number of dwellings Auckland will need over the next 30 years.

Under current (mid 2017) market conditions, around 326,000 dwellings across Auckland are considered feasible. Read more about growth and feasible capacity. The scale and location of this feasible capacity will change over the lifetime of the plan as market conditions change.

Auckland Council needs to consider the feasible development capacity against anticipated housing demand.

To meet Auckland’s demand for housing over the next 30 years, a minimum target of 408,300 dwellings has been set to provide sufficient feasible development capacity.

This target takes into account assumptions on the following:

  • anticipated housing demand
  • additional margin required as part of the National Policy Statement
  • the 2016 shortage in housing (35,000 dwellings).

Based on this there is sufficient feasible development capacity provided over the short to medium term (1-10 years).   However, over the long term (11-30 years), based on these current assumptions, there is a shortfall of around 82,000 dwellings.

There will be regular monitoring of development and tracking of actual dwellings built (uptake). This will show what planning and infrastructure responses are needed to ensure well-functioning urban environments that meet future needs.

Read more about housing and business demand, including ways to address the long term capacity shortfall on the Assessing demand page.


Embedding good design in all development

Good design includes the attributes of:

  • functionality
  • attractiveness
  • longevity
  • innovation
  • legibility. 

Good design needs to be integrated at all scales of development. It includes the quality of the city structure, the design of public places and spaces as well as building and house design.

The quality of city design is integral to how it functions, which affects our overall wellbeing. Good design can contribute to making Auckland a sustainable, attractive, equitable and desirable place.

The quality and characteristics of successful places make them memorable. They result in people going there more often, staying longer, or choosing to live and work there.

The Auckland Design Manual website provides guidance on good design and best practice examples.


Sequencing what gets delivered

Development capacity must be turned into real homes and businesses.

Planning and investment will be targeted to those areas where the greatest development capacity is taken up. This means existing urban areas where actual development of scale happens and providing new bulk infrastructure for future urban land.

This will provide certainty to the market regarding where supporting infrastructure and services will be located. It will also ensure value for money as infrastructure and service providers can target their investment in response to growth.

Areas for growth and development are sequenced.

In the existing urban area this is done through identifying nodes and development areas.

In greenfield areas, it is done through future urban areas.


Aligning the timing of infrastructure provision with development

Future growth and change will require a significant increase in the capacity and expansion of Auckland's infrastructure networks.

When infrastructure is provided, it needs to be co-ordinated with growth. This will minimise the costs of under-used assets, or the problems with over-stressed, congested networks.

Growth and infrastructure provision can be aligned by identifying the timing and location of:

  • expansion of strategic transport and water networks
  • servicing of future urban areas with infrastructure

  • infrastructure investment that supports significant growth in existing urban areas.

Supporting rural production

Auckland’s rural areas are valued for their:

  • current and future productive uses
  • rural landscape and character
  • ecological areas
  • recreational opportunities.

As part of the quality compact approach, future urban areas have been identified to provide for urbanisation. Residential growth in rural areas will be focused in the two rural nodes of Pukekohe and Warkworth. Some growth is anticipated in the smaller towns and villages.

Residential development in rural zones will be limited. Provision for residential growth will be focused in the existing countryside living zone.

Limiting residential growth in rural areas will maintain their values and support ongoing rural production.


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