A study undertaken last year into living in Papakura’s master-planned development of Addison has highlighted both positives and challenges.
It was prompted by emergency services telling Auckland Council the area’s narrow streets affected their ability to respond to emergencies, and with council encouraging a range of housing densities across Auckland to achieve a compact city, the study’s results will be useful in future planning.
The study found residents enjoy a strong sense of place a community enabled through urban design and features such as access to Bruce Pulman Park, neighbourhood commons and parks.
However, as the development has changed since building began in 2003, issues have arisen, including traffic, car crime and burglary, parking, overgrown pocket parks, trees, hedges and berms in both public and private spaces, and illegal dumping.
The area’s growing population and a lack of public transport had created congestion and rat-running, and an urban design assessment undertaken as part of the study found Addison’s roading network was being used in ways for which it was never intended.
The study by the council’s Research and Evaluation Unit focuses on urban design outcomes, with researchers interviewing residents, members of the residents’ group, police, council contractors and people involved in the area’s original planning.
Many of Addison’s design features were experimental when building started, including narrow roads, pocket parks and substantial tree coverage, but changes over years have resulted in differences across the area, with the earlier stages having more parks, commons and trees.
With about 1200 homes now in the area, the study recommends investigating more community-building events, clarifying responsibilities around green maintenance, and improving pedestrian and road safety, especially across Porchester, Arion and Takanini School roads, and at the roundabout.
The study concludes with three broad findings related to the design, planning and delivery of future housing developments, highlighting the importance of ensuring land use and infrastructure are developed together, that roading can adapt over time and the importance of adequate parking where public transport is limited.
“The study shows there are many good things about life in Addison, and we know there are those who have moved in for its urban design,” Papakura Local Board chair Brent Catchpole says.
“There were even participants who had moved around over the years, choosing to stay rather than move away. This report is an excellent piece of work we can all learn from as we design future urban spaces.”
Read the report - Living in Addison: an investigation into the lived experience of a master-planned housing development in Auckland - here [PDF].