How will city cope with 2050 swell? 
Times Gazette (NZ) 11 June 2003, Tuesday

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Expect more intensified housing as Auckland suffers from growing pains in the next 20 years.

By 2050 the city’s population could swell to 583,000. The question is where are they going to live?

The Auckland Regional Council has already warned that residential land is becoming increasingly scarce, so the only answer is higher densities.

Areas already earmarked for development (residential and mixed use) include the CBD, Newmarket, Glen Innes, Panmure, Mt Wellington Quarry, Otahuhu and Avondale. It has long been acknowledged that Newmarket has a tiny residential population and this is one area that could benefit from an injection of people.

Some planners have envisaged shops with apartments above — not such a bad idea and very cosmopolitan. At present Newmarket has little in the way of nightlife and this would be one way of achieving it. People living in the area would also add to its vibrancy.

The other centres selected for development seem also to make sense. However before council starts handing out resource consents for intensive housing schemes — a note of warning.

We have already seen some particularly shonky housing developments — in Panmure, Ellerslie, Mt Wellington and other places. If people are to be expected to live in high-density complexes there will need to be some very stringent quality controls. A set of design guidelines has been established, but are they enough?

We have seen the results of the leaky building problem and seen ugly examples of intensive housing.

When people live in close proximity to each other, it is paramount that their privacy and access to open space is protected.

Other factors such as natural light must also be taken into account. Perhaps council should also consider developments that contain a mixture of housing — from modestly priced homes to more expensive ones to avoid the risk of accommodating people on similar incomes in one place.

Under its Mainstreet programme council has already make some effort to ensure that town centres remain viable. If the growth management strategy is handled well the village concept should thrive.

People would be able to walk to shops and with more people around new businesses would be established with the confidence that they have a sound customer base. It sounds like a good idea, but there is a long way to go. If Auckland’s growth is managed well, with quality housing, even if intense, and encouragement for new businesses this could be the tonic needed to cope with a population boon.

By Barbara Weil