The idea that intensification is concentrated close to the central city has been debunked by new research from Auckland Council.
While the city centre and fringe areas provide significant numbers of jobs and the greatest housing density, the research found more intensification is happening in nine other job-rich areas.
This is backed up by housing consents which show 41 per cent of the 86,094 new homes consented between 2016 and 2021 were within 2km of the nine areas and 9 per cent within the central city and fringe areas.
The nine areas are:
•Auckland Airport precinct
•East Tamaki/Botany Junction
•Ellerslie Office Park
•Onehunga/Penrose/Sylvia Park/Mt Wellington/Ōtāhuhu
•Takapuna, including Smales Farm and North Shore Hospital
The research paper, from the chief planning office for planning committee members, said there has been criticism that the majority of new homes are not in areas close to the city centre and happening further out.
This is valid as the city centre and fringe does provide jobs, services and amenities, but the city also houses multiple large employment areas and commercial centres for different jobs, such as manufacturing and logistics, the planners said.
The nine areas account for about 57 per cent of the city's total jobs, the paper said.
The research paper started from the point of the Unitary Plan coming into force in 2016 with provision for 900,000 new homes.
From 2016 until 2021, a total of 86,074 new homes - apartments, townhouses and standalone houses were consented. The top five areas by Local Board area were Henderson-Massey, Hibiscus and Bays, Howick, Pakuranga, and Upper Harbour.
Over the five-year period, Auckland's population grew by 125,800 people.
Planning committee chairman Chris Darby said he understood how people get fixated with the central city as the major employment anchor with its universities and tourism.
"But what this research highlights is there are at least nine other key employment zones being recognised by the development community and ultimately by buyers telling them where to develop," he said.
Darby said the city centre has a lot of important white-collar, high paying jobs, but there is a broader range of jobs in the nine centres.
"Auckland Council has always had in mind the city centre is important, but 1.7 million Aucklanders spread over a large area need numerous areas of employment and we have planned for that.
"Covid has impacted the city centre disproportionately. In some ways, the market has been smart enough to recognise that employment elsewhere is vitally important and providing housing in proximity.
"In this Covid world, maybe that's a good thing. We are not all eggs in the city centre basket," Darby said.
Asked if he thought the Government's recent law changes to increase intensification across Auckland would distort the Unitary Plan process, Darby said the market is a lot savvier than what people think and gravitating to areas of employment, jobs and rapid transit.