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Sprawl in the Auckland Plan

As I noted in yesterday’s post about the Auckland Plan, there is a lot of focus in that plan on Auckland growing through intensification rather than through urban sprawl. If you look at the map of where development is likely to occur, certainly the ares for development through urban sprawl (which I’ve highlighted in yellow for ease of reference) actually look fairly small: 
However, if you read through the Plan it becomes clear that a fairly significant number of additional dwellings will need to be provided in these greenfield areas over the next 30 years.

The Development Strategy contains policies to maintain our rural and urban distinction. It promotes urban intensification and carefully managed peripheral growth.

A high growth scenario of an extra 1 million people living in Auckland in 30 years, means an extra 400,000 dwellings. Of these, 300,000 dwellings can be accommodated within the 2010 Metropolitan Urban Limit (MUL) through intensification. This equates to a 75:25 split between growth in existing urban areas and growth in new greenfield land (currently classified as rural land) and rural satellite towns. Existing greenfield areas are already identified (“in the pipeline”) or under development within the 2010 MUL. This will provide capacity for around 30,000 new dwellings. These areas will generally be developed before new greenfields are released.

To accommodate the shortfall of 100,000 dwellings and business and employment growth by 2040, around 5,000 – 6,000 hectares of new, undeveloped greenfield land will be needed. Areas for greenfield development are identified for further investigation (see Maps D.1 and D.2, red dotted lines around areas for investigation), and will fall within a new Rural Urban Boundary (RUB) that will replace the MUL.

The release of greenfields land will be staged within the RUB to meet market demand, and is supported by policies to ensure:
• there is always 5 years’ available land which is zoned for residential development and serviced for water and waste water (“unconstrained capacity”) and a further 15 years capacity planned
• there is a forward supply of unconstrained business land capacity, earmarked for particular purposes (especially Group 1 industrial land).

Future growth and development will be supported by a suite of tools to enable the desired change and ensure delivery is timely and well-executed.

Combining the 30,000 existing additional dwellings that can be accommodated within the existing MUL and the 100,000 outside the MUL, we have a pretty significant number of additional dwellings proposed to be located outside the existing urban area. So how does 130,000 dwellings compare to existing parts of the city? Well, in  2006 the former North Shore City had around 72,000 dwellings, Manukau City had around 95,000 dwellings and Auckland City had 145,000 dwellings.

Also, if you shift the yellow squares in the above picture around you start to get an idea about how big these areas actually are: On the one hand I do find myself a bit worried by the prospect of 130,000 additional dwellings on Auckland’s urban periphery over the next 30 years. That’s a lot of eaten up farmland, a lot of additional roads, pipes, schools and so forth. But on the other hand I also see the need for these additional houses, especially if we are going to make a dent into housing affordability. As I have also said previously, if we are going to let Auckland sprawl then these are pretty reasonably places to allow that: south in areas close to the railway line; north in places close to an extended Northern Busway and northwest potentially in places close to a Northwest Busway.

What this clearly does show is that people like Nick Smith and Don Brash who are criticising the plan for banning all urban expansion, thereby forcing up house prices, probably haven’t actually read through the Plan. Or they have and they’re just wilfully ignoring this aspect of it while laying into Auckland Council.

7 comments to Sprawl in the Auckland Plan

  • One thing AC should be doing is sorting through their own planning regs for those that inhibit development on brownfield sites… esp. minimum carparking numbers.

    • They are doing that. Page 16 of this document: http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/SiteCollectionDocuments/aboutcouncil/planspoliciespublications/theaucklandplan/aucklandplanchapter8.pdf

      Inappropriate regulations and inflexible standards can impact on good design. These can act as impediments to the development of intensive housing and mixed developments. One factor that can affect the affordability of such projects is unnecessary parking requirements. Sometimes traditional parking standards (minimum numbers of car parking spaces) have been imposed in areas where alternative options (for example parking buildings or investment in public transportation) would imply that such minimums are counterproductive to delivering the goal of intensification, mixed use and affordability. The Council intends to review its approach to parking as part of the development of the Unitary Plan.

  • Sam

    I’m just pleased they have finished developing the awfully planned, incredibly congested south east for the moment.

    I thought we had bad congestion on Dominion Road at 5:15pm… but that’s okay because MOST people are on the bus, bypassing all that. The Pakuranga Highway and Te Rakau Drive, on the the other hand, are several times wider, more congested, and there is NO ESCAPE from the traffic unless you have a bike and don’t mind large hills. Its Nuts how they are putting more people out there, but no decent travel options yet.

  • I really hope people see how shallow Nick Smith and Don Brash’s comments are. Those who are proponents of sprawl never want to pay the true cost of that sprawl, all the infrastructure needed to support very low densities. No, when it comes to cost, they’re more than happy to revert to socialism via the rating system.

    I’m all for people living on the outskirts of town if they want to pay the true costs. I doubt anyone would!

  • Here is the problem viewed from the other side, what sprawl does to the beautiful and productive countryside. Also this shows that the sprawl industry is every where- why, because it offers business’s favourite low risk profit; mining state subsidies

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/hands-off-our-land/8801402/Hands-Off-Our-Land-Bill-Bryson-warns-the-Coalition-against-turning-England-into-a-suburban-nation.html

    • Matt

      Best quote:

      As they move to the suburbs, the middle class take their wealth and economic activity with them. So the financial boost is temporary, confined to the construction work involved in building the suburbs.

      “You haven’t created economic activity, just moved it elsewhere. Look at Detroit: the middle classes moved out of town and left behind a smoking hole of deprivation.

      That needs to be etched onto a clue-by-four, and then administered roundly and soundly to the cranial cavities of Joyce, English, Brash, Barnett, and all the other “sprawl uber alles” acolytes.

  • arnie03

    The dream of the semi rural lifestyle not so dream like:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15207973

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