Central city living on wishlist
Young Aucklanders will be those most affected in the long term if the proposals in the draft unitary plan go ahead. Reporter Karina Abadia caught up with members of youth-led climate change organisation Generation Zero to find out why they think building
Ashleigh Ilich loves where she lives because it is close to the train station and the city.
The university student fears that when she moves out of home she will be priced out of the central suburbs.
The initiatives in Auckland Council’s draft unitary plan will go a long way towards meeting the needs of people at different stages of their lives, the 22-year-old says.
‘‘It caters for families and older people who want a backyard as well as the younger generation who want to live in an apartment-style complex.’’
Ellie Craft says: ‘‘The LA sprawl is a fine example of how it doesn’t work to build further and further out.
‘‘There is so much more cost involved. You’d have to create more infrastructure, services and roads. It would also further disconnect our city and create more congestion problems.’’
The 22-year-old says the lack of density makes central living unaffordable for young people.
‘‘The over 50s might be able to afford to live here but what about my generation who will have to live on the outskirts where they don’t even have adequate public transport?’’
Junior doctor Sudhvir Singh says we should be more aggressive about promoting intensification in the central suburbs.
‘‘In places like Portland and Seattle and parts of Melbourne and Sydney, on one side of the street there are historic houses and shops and on the other there are appropriate new developments which complement the heritage quite well.’’
Dr Singh grew Torbay but moved up in to an apartment in Grafton to avoid the traffic and be closer to friends, amenities and Auckland City Hospital where he works.
The limited types of accommodation in central areas is one reason people migrate, the 26-year-old says.
‘‘A lot of my colleagues have moved to Melbourne or Sydney, not for the money but because they can live in a terraced house close to the city and not be dependent on having a car.
‘‘It’s that lifestyle that is really important to young professionals. If we keep going with the failed model of urban sprawl it’s just going to clog up the motorways and waste our valuable time.’’
Dr Singh is of Indian origin and says many non-Pakeha think living in high density housing is a ‘‘perfectly Kiwi thing to do’’.
Masters planning student Luke Christensen says a compact city has great environmental benefits – it is necessary to protect Auckland’s rural land and allow for farming. But where you develop is important, he says.
‘‘If you intensify close to transport corridors you will be able to provide better links to the city.’’
Mr Christensen supports strict design standards and character overlays to preserve heritage suburbs.
The 25-year-old encourages more young people to have their say on the draft plan.
‘‘It can be a complex thing to get your head around but I think it would be really positive even if people submit generally about what sort of city they’d like to live in,’’ he says.
Submissions on the draft unitary plan close on May 31.
Members of Generation Zero Ellie Craft, left, and Ashleigh Ilich support the proposed intensification of the city.