This Saturday 31 October 2015 is officially World Cities Day, an annual event driven by the United Nations that recognises and celebrates urban transformation in cities around the world, as well as promoting growth and sustainability.
“The new Auckland can stand proud as a true international city, one that has gone through remarkable change since its unification five years ago,” said Auckland Mayor Len Brown.
“Wynyard Quarter and the opening up of the waterfront, our network of shared spaces, cycleways snaking across Auckland and wonderful new amenities – new libraries, free swimming pools for our kids, new galleries, recreation precincts, town squares and our new electric trains – are all examples of the transformation of Auckland.”
Last year, Auckland entered the prestigious World Cities Day challenge on the back of sustained improvements – particularly in pedestrian-friendly shared spaces – which has been a focus of Auckland Council’s design-led city approach.
Design-led city approach
Ludo Campbell-Reid, Auckland Council’s design champion, believes the city has made incredible strides over the past few years.
“Auckland Council’s design-led city approach has allowed us to implement bold change and move from a city primarily designed around the need of rush hour traffic, to a city built around the needs of pedestrians.”
“To become the world’s most liveable city, we need to be creative in our thinking about design, and, recently we’ve done this with a number of successful projects in our city including the Wynyard Quarter extensions, redeveloped Auckland Art Gallery, MIT campus, Britomart, Te oro and the inner-city shared spaces.”
These projects have been recognised internationally as well, with awards for the following:
- Wynyard Quarter regeneration: Winner of the 2012 Excellence on the Waterfront Centre, USA. 2014 Rosa Barba International Landscape Prize by the International Biennial Landscape Architecture, Barcelona. 2014 Best Waterfront Project Award at the International Society of City and Regional Planning Congress, Poland.
- Auckland Art Gallery: Winner of 2013 World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival and the 2012 International Award for Architectural Excellence from The Royal Institute of British Architects.
Cities cover only one per cent of the earth’s surface, however, more than half the world’s population live in them (which is expected to rise to 75 per cent by 2050). The way cities are planned and designed will shape the future habitation of the world.
Auckland is a prime example of a city undergoing urban transformation and a location that is implementing the values and goals of World Cities Day.
Another example of Auckland’s transformation will be seen in December 2015, when the formerly redundant Nelson Street off-ramp opens to the public as a new shared pathway for cyclists and walkers to enjoy. This stunning revamped off-ramp has Māori carvings, LED lights and vibrant magenta surface.
The architecturally-designed off-ramp will also ease traffic congestion and open up a new link for the ever-growing inner-city network of cyclists.
Celebrate World Cities Day this Saturday by enjoying some of Auckland’s shared spaces and iconic locations.