The agenda to the February 1st meeting of the Auckland Future Vision Committee contains a paper on the “Proposed International City Masterplan”, which seems to be a holistic look at how to transform Auckland’s CBD over a 20 year period into a much nicer place.
There are some exciting proposals included in the initial thinking behind the Masterplan, which seems to be taking its cue from a Public Life Survey undertaken by Gehl Architects last year. This had led to early thinking on the Masterplan identifying some very interesting and exciting propositions. The masterplan is proposed to be based around three core objectives. These are outlined below:
- A well connected city centre
- A waterfront city centre
- A lively and desirable city centre
Ways in which these objectives can be achieves are also detailed. Starting with connections:
Well there’s some pretty interesting possibilities listed here. Along with the predictable (city centre rail link, additional harbour crossing etc.) we also have some smaller projects that could be achievable in a shorter timeframe: including a number I have championed before. Of particular note is the mention of two-waying Nelson and Hobson streets – which has become my pet project of late. It’s also great to note that there’s strong consideration of light-rail: in the form of extending the Wynyard Quarter heritage tramway (currently under construction) initially to link with Britomart and then perhaps even further in the future (up Queen St?)
In terms of having a greater focus on the waterfront, a number of measures are proposed:
It’s good to note that pedestrian improvements to Quay Street definitely seem on the cards, and that there would be a particular focus on improving the pedestrian experience of the waterfront. Parts of Quay Street are pretty hostile to pedestrians at the moment.
Finally, in terms of creating a “lively and desirable city centre”, the following projects are considered:
In my mind definitely the most potentially exciting of these is the consideration of covering sections of the motorway ring road the surrounds our city centre to create new public spaces or mixed use development opportunities. The area between the Upper Queen Street and Symonds Street bridges might be a good place to start – though it would obviously be necessary to ensure this could be done feasibly from an engineering perspective and that it would make financial sense (ideally the development space on top of the covering would pay for the engineering works).
Looking at these lists of projects, the number of familiar ones makes me wonder whether the team at council putting this together regularly read this blog. Not that I mind them taking on the ideas of course: in fact that’s the whole entire point of me sharing them!