I took a trip to Melbourne to find out why they are a successful city and what Auckland could perhaps learn from their success.
They have an expected population forecast of eight million by 2030, currently it stands around 45 million. It makes Auckland’s projections rather small by comparison, yet it felt like a city that I could get around in comparatively easily.
The development of a city starts with planning. So what’s their secret sauce?
Their overarching vision is to have a city with ‘activity centres’ that act as hubs for doing everything a typical resident could want for—from work to play and everything in between. This means that you don’t have to travel across the city to do something; their goal is that every residents’ need can be met within a 20-minute journey.
Furthermore, their city is not a ‘super city’ like in Auckland which is an agglomeration of legacy councils. Melbourne has distinct councils each with their own strategic objective and management sitting under one overarching strategy.
I think this is where a lot of Auckland’s problems may have emanated. We run the risk of becoming a homogenous blob with a lack of strategic objective for each municipality or district, where Melbourne’s success has been to champion the essence of each area and give it a sense of individuality. Variety is the spice of life as they say.
Furthermore, the theory of being more efficient as one council with regards to the likes of resourcing in processing applications has been a complete fail in my experience. Our council does not have the capacity to process the number of planning applications it receives. They are resorting to outsourcing applications to private consultants to process who are charging accordingly!
I also liked how Melbourne have planned the city, you get a lot of entertainment and cultural amenity all within walking distance of one another, which encourages pedestrianisation and vibrancy. Not disparate and disjointed like we have in Auckland.
Auckland’s improving in this regard. What’s happening in Wynyard Quarter is a good example of good planning outcomes and is to be applauded. Let’s hope they don’t make a meal of the America’s Cup development. Instead a legacy is left which we can continue to enjoy beyond the event.
All said, Melbourne is a great success in my opinion and we here at Beau Consultants are working hard on how we can adopt some of the great stuff they’re doing there from a development perspective to help benefit Auckland’s and your housing development projects in the same way that Melbourne has benefited.