I really love Auckland, I was born here and some time, a long way out in the future I will die here too. Over the space of my lifetime I have a pretty positive feeling that I will witness the city make perhaps the biggest transformation it may ever experience and that is starting to happen right now. In many ways the city is coming of age, I feel we are right on the cusp of finally shedding the thought that it isn’t just an overgrown country town but it is actually a city. Being a real grown up city means not only acknowledging but embracing our urban form and actively working to continually improve it. The beginnings of this are already starting to occur, especially around the city centre where in less than a decade we have seen huge improvements through things like the street upgrades that begin recognise the importance that people, not cars have in the city. In fact there is an interesting change happening, for as long as I can remember Wellington was seen as not only the political capital of the country but also held the title as the urban capital of the nation. At least the latter now seems to be up for grabs as Urban Auckland is finally getting some love.
Of course the city has always had some outstanding natural beauty, there aren’t many cities in the world that the kind of natural features that we do which means that if we get the urban environment right we truly will be one of the greatest cities on the planet. Despite only really just dipping our toes into the waters when it comes to really improving the urban environment it seems the world is already taking notice. We regularly feature in the top 10 of various surveys on liveability, we have started winning international awards for things like our waterfront and we can now start to add tourism to the list. Stuff reports:
Auckland has beaten-off stiff competition to take the title of Australasia’s top destination at the 2012 World Travel Awards.
The city of sails managed to fight-off the challenges of Sydney, Bora Bora, the Whitsunday Islands and Fiji’s Yasawa to take the award, which is regarded as one – if not the most - prestigious in world travel.
It also marks the second time in three years that Auckland has taken the win in the category.
Speaking today, Auckland mayor Len Brown described the award as “a great Labour Weekend present” for the city.
Auckland will now go on to represent Australasia when the city competes at the World Travel Awards Grand Final in New Delhi on December 12.
It seems we are starting to see the end of the days when Auckland was just the place where the main airport was located and that you only stopped in the city on the way through to other parts of the country. To me the changes in our tourism fortunes have seemed to tie in pretty closely to the city becoming a more lively and interesting place in general. This is just another reason why it is so important that we keep improving the city through things like the City Centre Master Plan.