There are plenty of people who have lots to say about urban regeneration and developments featuring well-designed and affordable homes, in places that folks actually want to work.
Kenyon Clarke of Du Val Developments has done more than talk about it.
"We've been named by [real estate company] CRBE as Auckland's second-largest suburban apartment developer," he says.
"In the last five years we've built over 200 apartments around Middlemore, Papatoetoe and Mangere Bridge. Our Lakewood Plaza, near Manukau, is a $110 million development."
The company, which partners with Auckland and Waikato contractors Downey Construction, is focusing on the South Auckland area, from Mt Wellington to the Bombays and south, as one of the fastest growing parts of the city.
Population projections for the area are that numbers will triple, and Du Val spotted that well-built and affordable housing was in short supply.
Based on his family experience in both London, particularly the formerly-industrial East End, and Paris, Clarke formed strong views about the most sustainable way for a city to grow.
"The key is affordability. Ask anyone if they believe you can afford a property in Auckland, you know what the answer is," he says.
"But liveability is not urban sprawl, it's about regeneration and intensification and preserving the productive land and the bush. So our key feature of sustainability is to identify the best use of the land."
This thinking has driven the company's latest development only two kilometres from Mangere Bridge and Mangere centre.
Fitting the notion of easy access to work and play, the apartment complex on landscaped grounds is less than 6km from Middlemore Hospital (and railway station) and an easy 6km to Otahuhu for work or 9km from the airport industrial area.
A bus-stop is only 550m up the road, the new light rail will pass right by, there's fast motorway and train station access.
The land had been used for light construction manufacturing, so was an exciting find for Clarke and Du Val.
The company worked with Steve King of Archimedia who is no stranger to master-planned communities (his portfolio includes Broadway Park).
As well as fitting 119 one- and two-bedroom apartments on the site, King and the landscape designers have retained stormwater on the site using planting and swales to keep surrounding waterways clean — and they double as communal gathering spaces.
The stand of trees next to the complex will be weeded and replanted. The two E-shaped buildings that wrap around the gardens use sustainably-sourced timbers on the exterior, with painted concrete panels, louvres and balconies or courtyard to give a welcoming human scale to the exteriors.
Inside there's double studs and double acoustic lining for privacy, and low VOC Resene paint, energy efficient LED lights and double glazing.
The layout of the single apartments were designed for comfort — including plenty of storage.
Finishes include kitchens with easy-glide drawers, European appliances in stainless steel, glass splash backs and engineered stone worktops.
Flooring is a combination timber veneer, broadloom carpet or large-format tiles in the wet areas.
The company has curated a furniture package with some pieces custom-designed for the complex.
"We've sold 74 apartments already," Clarke says. "And it's great to see that a large number are to first home buyers.
It's a product that really works for them, as they have time to save the deposit. They get all the amenities but they are still affordable.
One bedrooms start at $490,000, two bedrooms from $700,000. The council has been very supportive of this urban regeneration with a good master plan — creating a community that was next to key infrastructure."
The apartment will have a live-in manager and CCTV for security, and each comes with an off-street carpark and secure gating.
"We've spent a great deal of time thinking about how to make really liveable spaces," says Clarke.
"People can bike or walk to Mangere Bridge, to the parks or the mountain, around the airport recreation area, but it's close to key employment, too. It's what sustainable cities are about."