Question: What are Auckland's goals as a city are for the next 30 years and how we will achieve these goals?
Is the Auckland (Spatial) Plan that outlines these goals matter of fact or just talking points? How will the incoming Strategic Planning Act influence our said Spatial Plan?
Recent reports illustrated Treasury was well off the mark with the New Zealand population and housing projections while the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development also struggled. The New Zealand population projection is 6.8 million people by 2072 meaning some 600,000 new homes will be needed nationwide by that time (working on a ratio of one dwelling to three residences).
As a spatial planner it is all very well to hear about the need for housing, (and the need for jobs, infrastructure, etc.) but can we say how Auckland does its part in housing 6.8m and building 600k new homes? This is where planning falls over and we get ourselves into a complete muddle costing us time and money.
Consequently, do we know where these people, these homes, these jobs, and that infrastructure will all go? Do we know how you plan to influence behaviours that will influence our spatial form and vice versa over the next 30-50 years so the Auckland Plan goals are met?
For spatial planners like myself we get presented the task of bringing all the puzzle pieces together that make a city through the spatial plan.
Once that is done housing, infrastructure and service providers, employers, investors and so on can do their thing in a co-ordinated fashion rather than the muddle we have now (costing us time and money).
Enter the Strategic Planning Act
The Strategic Planning Act will integrate functions under the RMA, Local Government Act 2002, Land Transport Management Act 2003 and the Climate Change Response Act 2002 to enable clearer and more efficient decision-making and investment.
"New spatial strategies will enable regions to plan for the wellbeing of future generations, ensuring development and infrastructure occurs in the right places at the right times," Environment Minister David Parker told RNZ last month.
Effectively the Strategic Planning Act (SPA) will mean authorities are required to produce spatial plans so we know the how, where, when, and what, to house the extra 1.8 million residents, provide them jobs and have all the supporting infrastructure in place. Other plans like the Unitary Plan (land use) and the Long-Term Plan (Budgets) would or should be required to give effect to the spatial plans produced and updated.
For Auckland, which already has its own spatial plan (the Auckland Plan), it would mean all our other documents and policies would need to be aligned to it under the SPA. From there the Natural/Built Environment Act, the Local Government Acts and others mentioned previously would work through carrying out the journey needed to reach the goals of the Spatial Plan.
We can all talk about provisions for housing, infrastructure, etc. as Auckland and New Zealand continue to grow. But can you say what Auckland's goals are and how Auckland City plans to get there in a co-ordinated fashion? Cue Spatial Planning and the Strategic Planning Act — a one-stop shop guiding our city's journey.
Spatial planning systems refer to the methods and approaches used by the public and private sector to influence the distribution of people and activities in spaces of various scales. Spatial planning can be defined as the co-ordination of practices and policies affecting spatial organisation.
• Further References: Going Back to the Beginning — Spatial Planning #visionweekNZ #bounceforward Podcasts
PODCAST: Replacing the Resource Management Act Take 2. Thoughts and those Spatial Plans
- Ben Ross is a spatial planner and human experience engineer at cOlab and Associates.