A Tale of Two Cities – Contrasting Challenges for NZ’s Two Largest Cities

2010/2011 saw contrasting fortunes for New Zealand’s two largest cities.

For Auckland, the amalgamation of 7 small local authorities into one “super-sized” Council, making it one of the largest city councils in the world, has finally given the city the opportunity to comprehensively and holistically plan for its future. The new “super-city” mayor has set out on an ambitious journey to prepare a 30 year “spatial plan” with the intention of making Auckland the world’s “most liveable city”.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s second largest city faced a completely contrasting scenario – one of grief, loss and devastation following two major earthquakes. The soon to follow Japanese disaster simply added to the emerging debate over what constitutes an appropriate 21st Century New Zealand urbanism.

Each of these cities is having to recognise the fragile nature of our planet, whilst under pressure to create a resilient, sustainable and adaptable city, one that is able to deal with issues such as population change (either rapid growth or potential decline), economic prosperity, safe location, food production, water conservation, energy, transportation – and the impact of all these issues on our patterns of behaviour.

This presentation will look for lessons learned from the approaches each of these cities is taking in dealing with extremely topical and pressing global and national issues, but faced with vastly contrasting circumstances.

Mr Alistair Ray, Associate Director, Senior Urban Designer, JASMAX New Zealand, a presentation at the International Urban Design Conference in 2011


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