I thought that after yesterday’s post, which looked at how newer town centres in Auckland seem to be mimicking ‘hollowed out’ US cities by devoting so much land to parking, I should take a look at some of the numbers for Manukau City (which seems to be the worst culprit here). Auckland Council’s mapping tool is a powerful ally here, enabling the measurement of polygons in square metre, as well as having a “building footprint” overlay which makes it easier to measure building areas.
Here’s where we’re focusing on: I’ve chosen the area outlined in white as representing the “core” of Manukau City Centre. It also seems reasonably representative of the wider commercial area in terms of the land-use split. Perhaps I will look to extend the area analysed in the future.
To make life a bit easier, I then divided the area above into three parts:You can see that the total area of this “core” part of Manukau City is around 46 hectares. It extents to Great South Road in the east, Manukau (formerly Wiri) station road in the south, Cavendish Drive in the north and Davies Ave & Lambie Drive in the west.
My full analysis of the land uses can be viewed in this excel document. The area noted as parking is not just purely parking spaces, but has effectively been calculated as the area not classified as roads, buildings or usable green space or plaza. It includes a few internal driveways, some of the incredibly wide buffer areas between carparks and the road and so forth (i.e. not space that has a useful purpose for anything).
Here are the summary results:What’s perhaps most remarkable about the data (other than how horrifying it is to see it confirmed that over half of Manukau is parking space and 70% is either parking spaces or roads) is how generally consistent the splits in land-use are. This suggests that the land-use proportions are unlikely to be an accident, but rather are enforced through compliance with parking regulations. If we take out public roads, we get around 34% of land (130,152 m2) of land for buildings and 63% (237,514 m2) for parking (the remaining 3% is green space or plaza). So generally, it would appear that our planning rules require two square metres of parking for every square metre of land taken up by actual development (obviously some buildings are taller than one level). This seems unbelievably wasteful.
The mismatch in land allocation is really highlighted when we graph the different uses:I’m sure, if you asked most planners how the split of these different land uses should fall, they would not consider Manukau City a good example. The Old Urbanist post suggested that there’s probably little justification in having over 25% of our land-space dedicated to Parking and Roads combined (compared to the 70% we see in Manukau). Yet those very same planners have proscribed rules which seem to make this kind of outcome necessary, while traffic engineers have built wider and wider roads in order to accommodate all the cars that fill these giant carparks.
It would be interesting to compare Manukau with somewhere like Newmarket. Perhaps that’s my next task.