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Auckland's grand plan to build the 'world's most liveable city'

Auckland's grand plan to build the 'world's most liveable city'
It's a tall order, making Auckland's the 'world's most liveable city' by 2040, but we'll never know if we don't try. Mayor Len Brown today launched the draft Auckland Plan, accompanied by plans for the region’s economic development, the city centre and the waterfront, which outline initiatives for urban design and business growth to secure its future as a "globally competitive city".

It's a tall order, making Auckland's the 'world's most liveable city' by 2040, but we'll never know if we don't try. Mayor Len Brown today launched the draft Auckland Plan, accompanied by plans for the region’s economic development, the city centre and the waterfront, which outline initiatives for urban design and business growth to secure its future as a "globally competitive city".

“They are rich in innovative possibilities and it is vitally important Aucklanders have their say on what is proposed,” said Brown. “We’re planning for a successful inclusive city that future generations will be proud of.”

The proposals shape options for how JAFAs may live and work, and the transport services they will use. The report sets out five priorities:

• dramatically accelerating the prospects of children and young people
• committing to environmental action and green growth
• outstanding public transport within one network
• radically improving urban living and the built environment
• substantially lifting living standards for all Aucklanders

Key priority areas for development in the first three years are the CBD and waterfront; Hobsonville; New Lynn; Onehunga; Tamaki; Takapuna; Warkworth; and Pukekohe.

The two main initiatives for Auckland consist of an ambitious plan to create a more inviting, cohesive CBD – including the city rail link loop favoured by Brown – that would better link the waterfront and western edge to a "world-class" city centre, and a "southern initiative" to develop the economic potential of the area and tackle social issues with an emphasis on education, health and housing.

"These interlinked plans will ensure we develop an Auckland with a strong heart to draw visitors and residents alike downtown and to the waterfront; a robust, high-value economy to benefit the region and the wider nation; and thriving local centres at the heart of resilient, vibrant communities," Brown said.

"An effective transport system will have integrated ticketing across a modern electric train network, and extensive bus and ferry services, with more walking and cycling options. A transport system that gives people choice will also free up our arterial roads for valuable commercial traffic."

The council has been working with 3D visualisation company Nextspace to create an a model of what  a future "Digital Auckland" might look like, which the firm hopes to make publicly available next year. 

Nextspace business development director Richard Simpson, a former Auckland City Councillor, said the data-driven model would would essentially be a living one, taking on board proposed changes and stacking layers of information to create an up-to-date interactive visualisation.

Overlaying Auckland's proposed spatial plan over the model would better enable stakeholders to make decisions about the city and make civic planning more relevant to communities, he said.

The report said the initial focus of the southern plan will be on early childhood learning as a matter of urgency. Other initiatives will be staged over time, with housing initiatives starting in Mangere.

"The Southern Initiative will be championed at a mayoral level, working at the highest levels with central government. It will include a community development approach, support local leadership and build policies on existing community strengths."

Developing Auckland as a commercial hub is another cornerstone of the proposals. That includes attracting workers in the creative sector, developing the "Maori economic powerhouse" and building on links between tertiary institutes, research organisations, and individuals and businesses.

Who will pay for it all? As the report acknowledges, Auckland’s success depends on the council, central government and other agencies working together. Over the 30-year period, new funding will be required to finance the approximately $10-15 billion total funding shortfall for transport infrastructure projects (such as the city rail, rail to the airport, an additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing, and Avondale-Southdown rail).

Click here to have your say on the plan.