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City centre population set to exceed 2032 estimate this year

Published: 8 May 2017

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Auckland’s city centre population to reach 2032 estimate 15 years early

In 2012, Auckland’s City Centre Masterplan laid out a 20-year vision for transforming the city centre. It predicted that the 2012 population of 27,000 would grow to 45,000 by 2032.

That figure is now expected to be reached this year – 15 years ahead of the prediction.

The population of Auckland's city centre is now forecast to grow by a further 30,000 residents over the next 10 years.

This is the equivalent of half of the population of Rotorua moving to the area within Auckland’s inner motorway.

Renaissance of inner-urban living

Councillor Chris Darby, who chairs Auckland Council’s Planning Committee, says we’re witnessing the rapid renaissance of urban living in the city centre.

“In the five years since we adopted the City Centre Masterplan, we’ve seen some incredible changes happening in central city, both in our city’s physical environment and the way people are experiencing it," he says.

“As a result, people are getting out and about and are walking in higher numbers than ever before."

"Pedestrian numbers on Queen Street have doubled since 2015 and there’s been a 34 per cent increase in pedestrians across the city centre.”

No increase to car trips 

“Significantly, despite the growth, the city centre has seen no increase in private car travel," says Cr Darby.

"More people now live in the city centre than travel in by car, with public transport, walking and cycling now making up the majority of the peak-hour trips into the city centre."

“The vision set out in the masterplan is the blueprint for the changes planned over the next 20 years and it’s exceptionally exciting at this five-year milestone to see how New Zealand’s highest-density urban environment is thriving and how people’s perceptions of how they get to and use their city are changing. It’s become one of the most desirable parts of Auckland to live in.”

The City Centre Masterplan

Ludo Campbell-Reid, Auckland Council’s General Manager of the Auckland Design Office who oversaw the creation of the masterplan, says the city centre area has tremendous importance to wider Auckland and to New Zealand.

“The city centre was identified by the 2012 Auckland Plan as one of two main priority investment areas for the council. Since then, the council, government and the private sector have all been investing heavily in the central city with over $14 billion worth public and private development activity underway.

"The redeveloped waterfront, Britomart, residential and commercial development, shared spaces, global events, new public buildings and improved cycling and walking facilities are all combining to create an area that has become the cultural and economic epicentre of the region.”

Snapshot after five years:

  • Population expected to hit 45,000 in 2017
  • population forecast to grow by 30,000 in next 10 years
  • pedestrians on Queen Street have doubled since 2015 with a 34 per cent increase in the city centre
  • private car trips have not increased
  • 10,000 more jobs in the city centre since 2012 and more than 100,000 people now work there.
  • office vacancy rates at a record low 2.4 per cent
  • new cycling infrastructure has been built to support the growth of cycling, such as the LightPath and inner-city cycling lanes. Future developments include the Skypath
  • City Rail Link construction is underway. This will increase the two-hour morning peak period capacity into the city by 150 per cent and will mean that the anywhere in the city centre will be no more than a 10-minute walk from a railway station.