Auckland's future: The cities Auckland Council wants to copy

An Auckland Councillor has revealed the cities the council is looking to for inspiration.

Auckland's population has exploded over the last decade, bringing with it housing and infrastructure pressures unlike anywhere else in the country.

"We're living in an international city, a global city that's got to take its place in the Asia-Pacific area," Chris Darby told RadioLIVE on Thursday morning.

"We are a city that's connected to the world - no disrespect to other cities in New Zealand like Wellington or Christchurch, but we are a wee bit different."

Auckland's unique geography - being built between three harbours on a hilly volcanic field among them - hasn't stopped Auckland Council from getting ideas from abroad however.

"We're always studying other examples, but you've got to look at the New Zealand and Auckland context as well," said Mr Darby.

"We're a city that's pinched by three glorious harbours, so our development options are very different to other cities. But you do take those learnings from other cities - the first that comes to mind is a city like Copenhagen, or a city like Stockholm, where they haven't necessarily gone for absolute high-rise to accommodate people - they've gone medium-rise. They've gone quality and compact, and made sure the future homes are high-quality."

Copenhagen. Photo credit: Getty

Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark, its biggest, and just so happens to sit on the island of Zealand. The population of its wider urban area is roughly equivalent to Auckland. Apartment prices in the city have rocketed in the past five years, at the same time a construction boom has seen supply  rise. 

Stockholm. Photo credit: Getty

Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is a little bigger, and has recently reportedly battled with its own housing crisis

"There are others we need to take learnings from and say, 'That is not the direction that we want to be heading,'" Mr Darby said, without elaborating. 

"We've had a history in Auckland, and the early-2000s, of building apartments and medium- and high-rise developments that are not of the quality that we can expect Aucklanders to be living in. We've come down on that hard."

In the past five years, Auckland has fallen 34,000 houses behind what's needed to keep up with population growth, reported in November. The council and central Government - under both National and Labour - have been working on changes to how the city approves new construction, with an emphasis on medium- and high-density living seen as the answer.

"We cannot afford to just keep sprawling out," said Mr Darby.

"The quarter-acre pavlova paradise has been a New Zealand dream, but we are seeing trends in Auckland where people are actually wanting to live in apartments. We are seeing massive demand - people want other living choices."


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