It’s hard not to get the feeling that for some in the Auckland Plan debate the answer is simply that they just need to get out more. Yes I’m thinking of you Dick Quax. But also Bill Ralston, whose advancing years seem to have settled upon him as a sort of domestic panic; a fear that some one will take his villa away. And the always unreadable and wrong Jim Hopkins. Plus all the other forces that appear to to be running a coordinated campaign against the plan, like the National Party’s pollster David Farrar, who enjoys apartment living himself but whose politics means he has to twist into a funny shape to conjure up bogus arguments against city life, he claims for example that to live in an apartment you can’t have a pet or a family, and imagines Ak turning into East Berlin. So in order to help those who seem to have absolutely no conception that life in Auckland is possible, for some even preferable, outside of a detached suburban 3 bedder I have dipped into my archives. These are simply random examples of the rich variety of lives lived by different people with different interests and different resources already enjoying the ‘absolutely gobsmacking‘ life that so terrifies the good councillor Quax.
I would also add that one area that the recent analysis of the Auckland Plan by Studio D4 and Jasmax did not look at was the inner city itself. There is clearly a great deal of opportunity for increased living in the city as the people pictured below already are. New supermarkets are opening in the city now and of course there is still room for further infrastructure to support and improve living, working and playing in the CBD. But of course I am not, and nor is the Plan, arguing that high or even medium density is to everyones’ taste, but that when given the chance there are many you do seek it. And that these include the young and the old, families with kids, groups of flatmates and people living alone, rich and poor, renters and owners, and every kind of race and outlook, pet owners, new agers and right wingers, strugglers, idlers, and toilers- in short, every kind of person.
First up, meet my mother. Her apartment is in a re-purposed commercial building from the early 20th century. Pretty special and very well placed for public transit as you can see [she can no longer drive]. Also ideal for a single elderly person, extremely secure, all on one level, the building has a concierge and is incredibly handy to both necessities and distractions. The only thing that hasn’t worked well is interaction with health agencies who insist on driving, often just from the hospital, and then of course, parking. They then want reimbursement for these costs although the services are free. Naturally they will happily drive to Albany or Cockle Bay and those costs are clearly buried somewhere in the health budget. Doh! Small problem, but indicative of how deeply imbedded auto-dependency is in our institutions.
The Bolletta family on a very grey evening, for them an apartment offers an affordable way for the young family to live centrally.
The Urale family. OK this is a detached house, but a new one on a tiny Freemans Bay site with no off street parking. Designed for the family by Malcolm Walker Architects, and therefore qualifies as both medium density and urban renewal.
Also a new building, but higher density. Fashion and publishing personality Paula Ryan in her waterfront apartment.
Again High-D, but different location, Newton, and different value. Complete with art loving cat.
A return to the original use: Living above the business. Gallerist Michael Lett in his modernised flat over his old gallery space on K’Rd. The first occupants of this Victorian or Edwardian building doubtless did the same. But with as much style?
Those genuinely concerned about housing affordability need to understand that even sweeping views of the CMJ is no barrier to successful rental or ownership for many if the price is right. Very serious students with a very relaxed cat included.
I could go on but the post would get too long…