TransportBlog website update and fundraiser

TransportBlog has been going strong now for over eight years – this is post 5,515. Over those years the blog has grown both in scale and scope, and we continue to be excited about not only the changes that we’ve witnessed over that time but for the opportunities that lie ahead. We’ve also made many friends along the way and are excited to see many of the issues we’ve advocated for become a reality.

In 2015 we officially incorporated the Blog under the name Greater Auckland and we now want to take the next big step the our evolution of our advocacy. We are working towards improving the usability and attractiveness of the blog through a rebranding exercise and a website re-design, including one that works on mobile . It won’t change who we are at our core, the content and coverage will not change, the old posts will still be here, and we hope to showcase some of them for perspective. As part of this, we’ve launched a Pledge Me project to fund these changes.

But it doesn’t stop there, we also have several exciting initiatives under development that we can reveal once the Pledge Me goal is reached. Here is some detail about the effort:

We believe the timing is right to transform ‘the Blog’ into something that is more influential and more accessible and responsive to our readers.

We will be rebranding to our Greater Auckland incorporated society name which better reflects the range of our mission and activities. We are seeking funding to create a new website with the following improvements:

  • Better mobile user experience
  • Better entry-points to our campaigns and legacy posts
  • Easier access to the diversity and archive of blog posts
  • More information about events and initiatives happening in the city

We need the money to pay for the website redesign as well as hosting and other business infrastructure. We also want to build online tools to help people participate in local issues and to better connect readers and members of Greater Auckland.

Funds raised will also be used to pay people for their work. We would like to be able to reimburse contributors for their extraordinary effort, for example travel to Wellington, participation at conferences, and for specific campaign work.

We’re are asking for $20,000 to help us take this next step. Please lend your support.

Please consider supporting us at any level.

A Transportblog milestone

Transportblog has reached a milestone, this is our 5,000th post.

The blog was started in 2008 to discuss transport, its role in making Auckland what it is today and how Auckland could be made a better place in the future. Over time we’ve also expanded on that and now talk also about wider urban issues, housing being one of the most prominent. Transport and Housing/Land Use are different sides of the same coin after all.

Myself and my fellow bloggers are proud of what we’ve been able to achieve over the years, especially when we’re able to start important discussions and effect long term change.

I’m often asked just how we manage to keep things going as we do, after all as well as the blog we also have paying work we need to do too. The thing that fuels that torch, often keeping us up late at night writing posts, has been the support we’ve had from you our readers and of course seeing the progress Auckland is making as a city.

Last year we launched our own parent organisation – Greater Auckland – to give the blog a bit more structure behind the scenes and help with the advocacy we do.

Here are a few stats to go with the 5,000 post milestone.

The blog is obviously an online entity, but if you follow us on Twitter you may have seen us recently teasing a physical manifestation of some of our work.

The booklet is a small collection of some of our great posts over the years discussing the urban evolution underway in Auckland and how the city can change in the future. It was pulled together for us by Nick R with the design and layout by Laura Dueker of Dueker Design.

If you’d like a hard copy, we do have some available at cost ($10). Also if you haven’t already please sign up to Greater Auckland so we can keep the blog and the work we do going.

 

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the blog whether it be by writing posts, commenting, or reading and sharing our content.

Help us to create a Greater Auckland

Transportblog started seven years ago and we are immensely proud of what it has become. Equally, we are extremely excited about the way the Auckland is starting to develop.  The city is already blessed with natural assets many cities can only dream of, but has for too long been let down by its built environment. In recent years that’s been starting to change – Auckland has been starting to realise that it’s actually a city and one that has huge potential. Of course, changing a city doesn’t happen overnight, and while we’re currently largely heading in the right direction the future of the city is far from certain.

In our view, the blog has been successful in helping to shape the conversation about how Auckland and other cities develop. Ideas like the Congestion Free Network have helped capture people’s imagination and show a different (and feasible) future for the city. We’re able to be successful thanks to all of you who read, comment and share our work. It has also allowed us to continue to grow and now get over 30,000 unique visitors having 90,000 sessions and viewing over 160,000 pages each month. As Metro Magazine says in its current edition, that “isn’t bad for policy wonkerism”.

For some time now we’ve recognised a need to provide some more structure to how we run the blog if we are to play our part in advocating for a greater Auckland. As such yesterday we formally launched GREATER AUCKLAND (GA) – a non-profit group that recognises Auckland’s untapped potential. We call for smarter thinking on the problems our city faces: investments in quality public and active transport, and more housing choice. Greater Auckland will own the TransportBlog domain and intellectual property, although individual posts remain the property of their authors.

GA Logo

TransportBlog will still exist and will still continue to operate as it always has, and we will continue to be the foremost advocates for improving public transport in Auckland (and elsewhere). We will also continue to advocate for better active transport, housing and other urban solutions.

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One area we think it should help is in providing more clarity to organisations we work with and advocate to. As an example, in the past some organisations have been unsure how to deal with us – is the blog media or advocacy? In many ways it’s really a bit of both – and that confusion can affect how they engage with us and us with them. We believe that providing more formality around what we do should help in furthering our aims. It should also assist in how we undertake activities such as raising funds.

Greater Auckland’s main objects are:

  • To provide commentary and encourage intelligent debate about transport and urban issues, in Auckland and across New Zealand.
  • To advocate for transport modes and systems that provide choice and effectiveness, including, but not restricted to, public transport, cycling and walking.
  • To operate a blog on transport and urban matters.

We’d like to be able to say that we are supported by thousands of people from Auckland and beyond. Showing your support is as easy as signing up as a supporter on the Greater Auckland website – it doesn’t cost anything and you won’t be bombarded with emails.

If you would like to help us further then we’d also like you to become a paid up member. The money raised will go towards supporting the costs of running the blog, as well as other things we have planned such as giving the blog a makeover. We also plan to use the funds to help support the advocacy we do. One example might be if we needed to hire experts to argue for us in a resource consent hearing. Membership is $50 per year although there is a lower price for students or unwaged members. In exchange for helping us you’ll also get the first chance to come to events we hold – such as meeting international experts who visit Auckland.

If you sign up as a paid member by the end of July, you’ll also go in the draw to win one of two copies of Britomart: The Story, a beautiful hard-bound 228 page book with stunning photography from Britomart Group.

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If you think that our aims are worth working for, and you enjoy the work that we do on TransportBlog, please join us as a supporter or a paid member of the society. The more people that support us, the stronger our voice will be. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Join us as a supporter or member
  • Like or follow us on Facebook or Twitter at both @TransportBlog and @GreaterAuckland
  • Give feedback in the comments below – what would you want this organisation to represent? What should our priorities be?

So thank you for all the support you’ve given us in the past and I hope you can join us in helping make Auckland even greater. Below are some images from our launch.

Lastly, I want to say a huge thanks to Emma, Niko, Kent, Luke and Ryan for all their work behind the scenes in organising this. Also a massive thanks to Ben from Inhouse Consult for his help with legal work to set everything up and Laura from Laura Dueker Graphic Design who created the logo.