Auckland has long been a high achiever in those “World’s Most Liveable Cities” rankings. In the 2015 Mercer Quality of Living Rankings our biggest city came in third, while in the most recent Economist Intelligence Unit’s Liveability Survey it placed tenth. These kinds of lists take into consideration aspects like safety, education, health care, culture, environment and recreation, to name a few, and then allocate a score to over 200 cities.
Auckland consistently scores highly in all facets but a pedigree for success here doesn’t always guarantee future performance because cities aren’t just static entities. They grow and evolve, with new innovations and creations helping to shape how urban spaces are, not only built and developed, but also how they are used.
In Auckland’s case it’s in the midst of a massive social, economic and environmental sea change and that has opened the door for new ways of thinking and new approaches in the urban design space. These are the five urban design trends shaping and changing our most populated city, ensuring it stays at the front of the pack for liveable cities.
It’s no secret the quarter-acre dream has fast become just that – a dream – for many Aucklanders. Rampantly-rising house prices and immigration levels mean space is at a premium so being smart about how we use it is paramount. When you remove the traditional footpath/road distinctions and create an area where vehicles and pedestrians can coexist, shared spaces are the result and make for a more inviting environment with increased usability. Also expect to see changes in the makeup of households with more multi-family housing.
The hordes heading to the City of Sails aren’t just putting a strain on housing, they’re also pushing the existing infrastructure to its limits and in order to battle this problem smart technology is being heralded as our saviour. We’ve already seen the first steps to a smarter Auckland with the implementation of the one AT Hop Card for all public transport services, but more smart initiatives are in the pipeline. Earlier this year, the city partnered with Microsoft for the launch of the CityNext platform which aims to transform local government and support innovation through the use of information and communication technologies and big data.
Adapting to Threats
Whether you’re a climate-change skeptic or a firm believer, it’s difficult to ignore the impact our ever-changing environment will have on urban design going forward. In New Zealand our famous habit for boasting about our close proximity to a beach means the threat of rising sea levels is one that’s being taken very seriously. By 2050 our sea levels are expected to rise by 30cm and because of this, future plans around buildings and infrastructure are being developed to allow for the higher levels.
To find out the final two urban design trends shaping Auckland, download the free infographic here.