Auckland adopts new future growth strategy

Publish Date : 02 Nov 2023
Couple Admire View Of City From Summit

Auckland Council’s Planning, Environment and Parks Committee has today adopted a new strategy for how the city will grow and develop over the next 30 years, by 18 votes to 3.

With Auckland expected to grow by half a million more residents by 2053, the Future Development Strategy is the council’s high-level vision for making sure homes, jobs, and infrastructure are built in the right places, at the right time.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown has shown support for the direction taken in the new strategy.

"I am pleased this aligns with what I was voted in on: to make the most of our existing infrastructure and limit the loss of agricultural land to housing, especially where it is expensive to provide services.

"It is sensible to plan for housing and business needs in good locations. This also means avoiding development in high-risk locations, where flooding and natural hazards are a risk to people and property. Further, existing ratepayers don't want to subsidise new greenfield developments. We're showing our commitment and showing the signals for a more balanced urban plan; this is appropriate for New Zealand's fastest-growing region."

Chair of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee, Councillor Richard Hills says to grow successfully, every city needs a clear, agreed plan for growth.

“The Future Development Strategy addresses the big issues around growth that affect our quality of life. It’s about adapting to the challenges we face and future-proofing our city, ensuring a better life for our children, grandchildren, and generations to come.

“It is also an honest assessment of the infrastructure Aucklanders are able to afford when many communities feel there hasn’t been enough investment in current urban areas already.

“Aucklanders have strongly backed our overall approach to planning for growth, particularly focusing future growth in existing urban areas and closer to local centres.

“In the years to come, it will guide us towards a city where people can live close to work, shops, schools, entertainment and amenities with easier access to walking, cycling and public transport. It means building our resilience to natural hazards, protecting our environment, and growing in a way that reduces emissions and adapts to climate change”, says Councillor Hills.

Auckland’s quality compact approach remains

“The way we have managed growth in Auckland over the past decade – focusing growth mostly in existing urban areas and some in greenfield areas – remains largely the same,” says Jacques Victor, General Manager of Auckland Plan, Strategy and Research.

“However, there are two significant changes. We’re putting a stronger focus on responding to climate change, particularly flooding hazards and protecting people and property, and a greater recognition of the council’s financial challenges and when we can invest in essential infrastructure and services, especially in areas on the city’s edges.

“Growth in greenfield areas remains an important part of the council’s overall strategy for Auckland’s growth and for making sure people have housing choices. However, we want to avoid building homes in places without the necessary infrastructure and services. That’s not good for communities, our environment or people’s well-being,” he says.

What does the Future Development Strategy cover?

The Future Development Strategy strikes a balance between greenfield growth and focusing new homes – with a greater choice of housing – closer to urban centres with easy access for people to walking, cycling, and public transport to get around.

It changes the timeframes for developing greenfield areas over 30 years or longer in some areas so that investments in essential infrastructure can keep pace with growth. This is so that new communities can have good access to jobs, services, and amenities, while reducing congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, and transport costs. 

This means prioritising infrastructure spending in areas where growth is happening, so the most people can benefit from these investments. Investment in growing urban areas will benefit existing as well as new residents. Additionally, the strategy recognises that, at times, developers or other funding sources may provide this infrastructure.

In some other areas on the city’s edge, it will see a small reduction in land earmarked for future urban development to avoid building in areas exposed to significant flooding hazard risks for people and property, which will only increase with climate change.

Key actions of the Future Development Strategy

Remove areas for development with risks for people and property
  • A small reduction in greenfield land previously indicated for future urban development, around 800 hectares.
  • This is in Hatfields Beach and parts of Kumeū-Huapai and Riverhead, Takaanini and Drury-Ōpaheke. These are all areas exposed to significant flooding risks where further development would be inappropriate for protecting people and property.
  • There will be minimal impact on Auckland’s overall housing capacity, with any capacity lost made up for elsewhere in other areas of the city over time.
Support local investment in key locations.
  • Locations identified as having short to medium-term infrastructure constraints will be prioritised for a small-scale ‘package’ of investment.
  • These will be within accessible and high-demand areas with the intention to create more development capacity.
  • This investment would be beyond water or transport, to possibly include green spaces, tree planting, walking, or cycling connections, and better community services or facilities.
Identify priority areas for investment.
  • Focuses significant infrastructure investment in priority areas over the next 10 years in Westgate, Tāmaki, Mount Roskill, Māngere, Drury, and Auckland’s City Centre.
  • Prioritising limited funding to maintain and improve essential infrastructure in areas where growth is occurring, and where the most people can benefit from that investment.
Creating more capacity in “good locations” 
  • While Auckland has already planned for a huge amount of capacity for residential and business growth over the next 30 years, not all of this will likely be developed.
  • Direction is given for more housing capacity to be created over time in locations of high demand, with good accessibility and with low hazard risk, mainly around town centres and public transport routes.
  • This enables more housing choices in places accessible to daily needs, helps support affordability, creates greater competition in the market and makes the best use of existing infrastructure and services, helping to reduce costly network extensions.
  • Recognises the need for business land, especially large format business, and therefore brings around 250 hectares of business land in Whenuapai forward to 2025, as well as business land in Silverdale and Puhinui over the medium term.
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