Here’s a fairly random street in Sydney, Australia that looks like it’s a big box retail area with some office parks thrown in. You know, like the kind of thing you find in Auckland in places such as Albany, Wairau Park, Highbrook, Lincoln Road and of course Manukau.

What’s interesting though is when you look at this area from above.

And compare to Manukau:

The stand out and absolutely smack you in the face difference is in relation to surface parking. The area around Mascot in Sydney – where the first couple of images are from, have almost absolutely no surface parking – instead using that land for far more productive purposes in terms of extra floor space. That area is densely developed without a doubt! Compared to Manukau, which is around 70% asphalt (clearly not enough for some!)

I’m kind of curious why there’s such a big difference between the two places. Some possible explanations:

  • Mascot never had minimum parking requirements or perhaps even had maximum parking limits.
  • Mascot had some other planning rule stopping surface level parking.
  • The land values in Mascot are so high that land simply can’t be “wasted” on parking (this also relies on there being no minimums)
  • Mascot has always been blessed with good public transport whereas PT was generally viewed as a communist plot for smelly people by the former Manukau City Council

This is all speculation of course, but it clearly highlights that light-industrial, office-park, big-box retail areas don’t have to end up being smothered to death in parking lots.

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  1. It’s been ages since I’ve been down O’Reirdon street. It was always an industrial area and I don’t remember there even being lunch shops (or grass on the verge). Clearly this is starting to change as the usage around the airport changes (high rise hotels, etc).
    It would be interesting to see what the Sydney council requires of the retailers who have moved in.

  2. two pictures tell . . . not very much really,

    if you looked around Auckland, you might find something not too different from the Sydney example, parts of the Wairau Valley come to mind and if you looked around Sydeny, I’m sure you could find horrors not too different from Manukau

  3. There are a lot of older industrial areas in Aexandria/Mascot that predate the motor car era,

    Large parts have already beeb converted into medium/high density residential where the new buildings often have parking underneath

  4. It is cheaper to build basement car parking in Australia as they don’t have earthquakes. Typically they have skinny little pillars spaced a long way apart.

  5. Mascot has one of the busiest airports in the southern hemisphere, has Sydney (and thus east coast Australia’s) major port, and is within 15 minutes drive of Sydney’s central city – Sydney has 4.5 million people. And has been developed since the late 19th century. So, not really comparable. This is more like Parnell with an airport than Manukau’s open farmland.

    You’re better looking at Bankstown or Campbelltown for comparison.

    1. Yeah exactly. Mascot is around 6-9km from the Sydney CBD (depending on points measured) vs 21km from Auckland to Manukau City. Mascot is also a lot closer to Sydney airport than Manukau is to Auckland airport and the area is far more urbanised.

  6. this is interesting, as the type of Urban form seen in Sydney is sooo much easier to retrofit Public Transport. Even it it is not heavily viable now, the streetscape means that in the future will be able to attract public transport users as pedestrians don’t face a sea of carparks. This is as opposed to Auckland areas described above where the area is so dreary and windswept this means the distance pedestrians will walk is far less that an active st. Ie may walk 1km in CBD down Queen St, but how many would do this in Manukau?

  7. Not trying to critisize your post, but Mascot is far more central to Sydney than Manukau is to Auckland city. You’d be best to compare it to somewhere like Mt Wellington or St Lukes etc. So it’s not a totally fair analysis. Trust me, when you drive out a bit there are areas in Sydney just as bad if not worse than Manukau.

  8. My guess is they value their land more so cant afford to have simple open air carparks. All the parking will be underneath the buildings.

      1. Yes which just goes to show what a failure as a new town centre MC is; 50 years of trying with every form of subsidy (roads, parking, public business directed there) and the place is so undynamic it’s barely alive.

        We must do much better if we’re to try this again. On the frigging rail line would be a good place to start!

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