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Auckland Council The Auckland Plan

What will Auckland look like in the future?

The Development Strategy sets out how Auckland will grow and change over the next 30 years to become a place that Aucklanders love and are proud of, a place they want to stay in or return to, and a place that others want to visit, move to or invest in.

This is a revised Development Strategy

This is an update of the first Auckland Plan Development Strategy, which was released in 2012.

The initial Development Strategy set the direction for a quality compact approach to growth.  There have been a few important changes since 2012 which are reflected in this updated Development Strategy.

One of the most important changes has been the release of the Auckland Unitary Plan in 2017, which sets out the planning rules for Auckland and creates adequate capacity for jobs and homes over the next 30 years.

Another important change is around Aucklanders’ expectations of housing, transport and public spaces. We also live in a time of rapid technological advancement, which will have many impacts on Auckland’s future growth.


Why we need a Development Strategy

Auckland is anticipated to grow significantly over the next 30 years. To make sure that we build on its strengths and hold on to the things that are dear to us during this growth, we need to plan for how and where Auckland will grow.  

Around 1.6 million people currently live in Auckland.

Over the next 30 years this number could grow by another 740,000 people to reach 2.4 million. This means Auckland will need many more dwellings – possibly another 320,000, and room for extra jobs – possibly another 270,000.

Growth on this scale is significant, and requires us to work together and ensure we have a clear understanding of where and when investment in planning and infrastructure will be made – this is what the Development Strategy provides.


Auckland's context

From the arrival of the first Māori settlers to its recent evolution into a modern international city with a substantial rural sector, Auckland's story has been one of constant growth and change.

While initial settlement by both Māori and European tended to cluster around the waterfront, development soon spread further afield in response to population growth.

By the early 1900s Auckland had become New Zealand's largest city and suburban development had extended to the central isthmus and parts of the North Shore.

However, it wasn't until the arrival of the motor car, particularly after World War Two, that Auckland's urban footprint really started to expand.

The resulting pattern of lower density suburbs, enabled by the motorway system and widespread car ownership, is still the dominant feature of Auckland's urban form to this day.

The urban area now covers approximately 20 per cent of Auckland's land mass. It is home to over 90 per cent of its residents, many of whom live along a narrow axis stretching from Orewa in the north to Drury in the south.

The urban area is surrounded by extensive rural areas, with numerous towns and villages, and an outstanding natural environment that includes:

  • beaches
  • harbours
  • maunga
  • the surrounding ranges. 

Geography continues to shape and constrain Auckland's development.

Physical pinch points, particularly where the isthmus is at its narrowest, complicates development and the transport network.

It also complicates the flow of goods and services, including to and from the port and airport, Auckland's two international gateways.

Supporting residential and business growth, while managing their impacts on the natural environment, will be one of the great challenges we face over the next 30 years.


Auckland will look very different in 30 years


The extent of its urban footprint will include:

  • newly established communities in the future urban areas
  • significant redevelopment and intensification in areas that are already developed.

There will also be a small amount of additional growth in rural areas outside of the urban footprint.


A multi-nodal model

Over the next 30 years, Auckland will move towards a multi-nodal model within the urban footprint.

The city centre will continue to be the focus of Auckland's business, tourism, educational, cultural and civic activities. It will continue to be an important residential centre as well.

But it won't be the only main centre in Auckland.

The areas around Albany, Westgate and Manukau will emerge as nodes which are critical to growth across the region.

They will become significant hubs of a broad range of business and employment activity, civic services and residential options.

These areas, with their large catchments, will accommodate substantial growth in the north, north-west and south and will be interconnected by a range of efficient transport links.

Outside the core urban area, the satellite towns of Warkworth and Pukekohe will act as rural nodes.

They will:

  • support significant business and residential growth
  • service their surrounding rural communities
  • be connected to urban Auckland through state highways and, in the case of Pukekohe, by rail.

​City centre

Auckland's city centre is critical to the success of Auckland and of New Zealand.

It is:

  • Auckland's primary business area with its mix of commercial, education, employment, cultural and civic activities
  • linked to the rest of Auckland by an extensive transport system.

Around a quarter of all jobs in Auckland are located in the city centre, and it contributes around 7 per cent to national gross domestic product.

The city centre's residential population has increased substantially over the past decade to reach almost 45,000 residents.


Manukau is becoming an anchor for southern Auckland.

It has:

  • a strong civic, academic, business and retail focus
  • several Auckland-wide attractions
  • integrated rail and bus stations.

The surrounding industrial area and proximity to Auckland Airport strengthen its future as a sub-regional node.


Westgate is an emerging node of northwest Auckland.

It is the centre for future urban areas, particularly Red Hills and Whenuapai, and new business land at Whenuapai.

Strategically located at the juncture of state highways 16 and 18 on the western ring route, it has road connections to the north, west and south.

Future transport infrastructure will transform Westgate into a major public transport interchange, and will support further mixed use intensification of the centre and development of the surrounding business land.


Albany plays a strategic role as the key node for the north. It will help to support the future urban areas of Wainui, Silverdale and Dairy Flat as they develop.

Albany will see significant residential and business growth and intensification.

Motorway access and the Northern busway provide much needed transport connections for the area.

In time, and supported by industrial areas such as Rosedale, Albany will provide a diverse range of employment, housing, education, community and civic facilities.


Warkworth is the largest rural town in the north of Auckland.

It provides a range of services to the surrounding rural areas and is developing into a self-sufficient satellite town.

Significant future employment growth is anticipated alongside residential growth.


Pukekohe is a growing rural town at the southern extent of Auckland.

It is strategically located on the North Island Main Trunk railway line and is connected to Auckland via State Highway 22.

It serves a wide catchment, and is centred on rural production with some of New Zealand's most elite soils and prime agricultural land.

Pukekohe has the potential to function independently. An increase in business land will help achieve this aim.