We sat down with Thomas Le Bas earlier this month and found the charms of Auckland had captured him after just four years here as a city centre resident who doesn’t own a car.
The wellbeing of both people and the planet is central to Tom’s view of a perfect city.
He says: “A city that revolves around the car and motorways isn’t sustainable or an efficient use of space, especially for the planet.”
In this series of Q&A, we’ll chat with some of our newest Aucklanders and some of our long established Aucklanders and ask them what they love about the city and what they think we could do better.
Here are Tom’s answers to our questions:
If you could design a perfect city what would it be like?
A city that focuses on happy, healthy and sustainable living, for both its inhabitants and the planet. For me that’s a city designed with ‘living local’ in mind, where I have everything I need within reach via a walk or a bike.
What are the best things about living in an apartment in Auckland’s city centre?
A mix of efficient living, where I have what I need with me or in close proximity, and being close to the activities and energy of the city, whether that’s events, bars and restaurants, visits to a park, or waterfront views.
What are the best things about not owning a car / cycling around Auckland?
It’s great to have one less complexity in life, by not owning a car, and a bike is a very refreshing way to experience the city—everything is generally easy access, and good for the mind and body.
Why do you think higher density housing near town centres and transit hubs is important for Auckland, as the city’s population grows?
A city that revolves around the car and motorways isn’t sustainable or an efficient use of space, especially for the planet, but I think higher density and better transit options also enable greater diversity and better living options for such diversity.
Are you hoping to buy your first home? What housing type and location will be on your wishlist?
I would love to, but I’m no way near being in a financial position to do so. However, apartment living in the city centre is certainly my preference, and I’m fortunate that there are options that are in closer reach than many other options in the Auckland area. Being close to that inner-city life is important to me.
What do you hope for Auckland in 2022?
Obviously working through the COVID-19 pandemic as best we can is my highest hope, and for me that also means helping each other thrive, not just survive. How people experience the city, in all facets, will be even more important as we need to balance new norms while also enabling a good quality of living for everyone.
How important is it for Auckland’s housing to be both socially equitable and environmentally sustainable, especially for young people like you, as we look ahead beyond 2022?
Extremely important. I’m fortunate to be in a position where I can access healthy and comfortable living, but that’s not the case for many. I want to see that we take care of all of our peoples, and do so in a manner that considers the very real threats of climate change and the impact that accommodating so many has on our environment.
What are your favourite things about living in Auckland?
I’ve only lived in Auckland for four years, but I’ve been lucky to experience a lot of it and really find what works for me here. Great selection of foods and bars, warm weather, easy access to green areas inside and out of the city, and plenty of social events that keep me and my friends occupied. The small beaches in Ponsonby are an all-time favourite in summer weather.
This series of Q&A aims to shine light on how Aucklanders are feeling about how their city is growing. We’ll chat with Aucklanders, architects, urban planners, economists, business leaders and people from Auckland Council who are on the frontline of growth in our city.