The ‘up not out’ philosophy of Len Brown and his city planners has ensured that Auckland, far from being the world’s most ‘liveable’ city, will be just another town of ticky tacky homes. Shoddy, hastily erected, homogenous, cramped terraced homes and apartments litter the inner city already, creating the slum conditions of nineteenth century England without the sense of community these engendered.
The Unitary Plan, Brown’s blueprint for Auckland for the next thirty years, will complete the destruction.
What struck me most in the article was the paragraph quoting Auckland’s chief strategist. He justified the ticky tacky ‘vision’ as follows
Auckland Council chief of strategy Jim Quinn said Auckland's population was expected to increase between 750,000 and a million in the next 30 years. Intensification was vital to meet demand.
And therein lies the problem for Auckland. The bureaucrats rule the roost. They tell absolute porkies to the Councillors, who, knowing no better and not prepared to check the facts for themselves, are too ready to accept the lies of the ‘experts’.
As if to underline the fact that Auckland isn’t going to grow at the predicted rate, the Herald produced figure demonstrating the increasing unaffordability of homes in the city. The price rises are caused solely by the Unitary Plan’s blinkered ‘up not out’ philosophy restricting land supply and forcing up prices.
Newly released figures analysed by the Weekend Herald show the standard Auckland house added $427 a day in capital gain in the 12 months to September.
But Auckland workers earned just $132 a day, according to newly published median wage figures from Statistics New Zealand – meaning house-price growth is outstripping people’s earnings by $295 a day, or more than $100,000 a year.
The grim figures shed new light on the deteriorating affordability of Auckland housing, which has been labelled unsustainable by the Reserve Bank
Auckland’s future is being built on shaky foundations. The underlying premises justifying planning decisions are false. Auckland’s population growth is half the predicted rate. An earthquake like another global financial crisis will bring the whole shoddy façade tumbling down. Maybe that’s no bad thing. Maybe then we can build a real city of the future that doesn't mimic everyone else, embraces new technology, and is a great place to bring up the kids.