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Auckland Council The Auckland Plan

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 produces increased 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
  • great 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:

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

Enabling sufficient capacity for growth across Auckland

Auckland's Unitary Plan provides enabled capacity for around one million additional dwellings. Not all enabled capacity will be taken up, as this is significantly more than the number of  dwellings needed during the next 30 years.  

Around 265,000 dwellings of enabled capacity are feasible under current (mid-2017) market conditions. However, the scale and location of feasible capacity will change over the lifetime of the plan as market conditions change.

An on-going supply of development capacity has to be maintained to meet demand. Given possible changes in future demand, the wide variety of land owner motivations and the varying feasibility of development, monitoring of capacity is important.

It is also important to understand what factors may lead to changes in the sequencing and prioritising of action and delivery.

Embedding good design in all development

Good design includes the attributes of:

  • functionality
  • attractiveness
  • longevity
  • innovation
  • legibility. 

It 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. That includes 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 and response to growth.

Areas for growth and development are sequenced. 

In the existing urban area this is done through identifying 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.

The timing of providing infrastructure needs to be co-ordinated with growth, in order to minimise the opportunity cost of under-utilised 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.