Auckland trumps Melbourne, Sydney in city planning index

Auckland has ranked higher than Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in an international ranking of cities measuring planning and response to future challenges. 

New Zealand's biggest city came in at number 13 out of 24 international cities listed on the 2018 WSP Opus Global "A Tale of Our Cities" Index. 

The report is different to "liveable city" indexes in that it judges cities based on how they're planning for the future. It says Auckland is a city that punches above its weight in a country that also does. 

Seattle, Washington took out first place in the ranking, ahead of Denmark's Copenhagen, Sweden's Stockholm, New York and Canada's Vancouver. 

Auckland was the only New Zealand city on the list. But the ranking was good news for Auckland Mayor Phil Goff who said the city's position speaks to how problems such as the housing shortage and transport issues are being addressed. 

"Our ranking at 13th leaves room for ambition to match and exceed the performance of the Scandinavian and North American cities which dominate the top of the list," Mr Goff said at the launch of the report on Monday. 

The report praises strengths in Auckland's almost complete coverage of fibre internet. It also praised the city's regional parks, as well as the creation of new facilities such as the Viaduct Basin, Wynyard Quarter and an "exemplary new" art gallery. 

"The cultural and placemaking of the city has been bolstered by a major planning overhaul for growth and a renewed public investment in metro rail infrastructure, that will set Auckland well on the path to a stronger global position," the report says. 

Mr Goff said Auckland's challenges are being addressed through measures such as the Unitary Plan, leading to more rigorous development of apartments and housing, and a 10-year budget with $26 billion for housing, transport, the environment and other areas. 

He said Auckland Council will spend $32 billion on transport, including $6 billion on light rail (a modern version of trams) over the next decade. 

The 2018 WSP Opus Global "A Tale of Our Cities" Index:

  1. Seattle
  2. Copenhagen
  3. Stockholm
  4. New York
  5. Vancouver
  6. Singapore
  7. San Francisco
  8. Montreal
  9. Washington, DC
  10. Toronto
  11. London
  12. Manchester
  13. Auckland
  14. Melbourne
  15. Sydney