On Monday the 9th, we’re launching our new, improved, updated Development Tracker page. You’ll notice a few changes when the new page goes live. One, it’s more user friendly, with a wider range of information, and it’s now laid out in table form. Two, we’ve extended it from just looking at apartments and terrace developments, to looking at major hotel, retail, office and retirement village projects as well. Three, we’ve added other cities – the Tracker now covers the whole of the country, as well as Auckland.

DT screenshot whole NZ

Lastly, it will be called the “RCG Development Tracker”, and is being sponsored by RCG Ltd. They are “property, architecture, design and research experts” who “create commercially successful environments”. I should disclose that I’m an employee of, and a shareholder in, RCG.

We’ve utilised sponsorships for events in the past, such as our film nights, but this is the first time we’ve had sponsorship on the blog itself. As such, I want to explain why we’re doing it now.

The main reason is that sponsorship funding, from this and potentially other activities in the future, will help us to do more with the blog. We’ve got quite a lot planned for 2015, which we’ll announce later on. However, the current funding will probably be used for something fairly mundane, such as a website redesign or server hosting. We’ll also run events this year as we have in the past.

Secondly, the main thing we’re limited by is time. All of the authors involved at TransportBlog are volunteers, and we’re producing a lot of great content, in my opinion, with a growing list of contributors including moat recently Peter Nunns, while Matt L continues to do an amazing job as the blog’s main author. Matt and Patrick also do a lot of stuff behind the scenes, and spend time on meetings and talking to other stakeholders – things which we want to build on this year. The Development Tracker page is one of those things that was a great idea, but fell by the wayside a little without anyone having the time to update and improve it. The sponsorship means I can write and update the content required during my work hours.

RCG’s involvement with the blog is limited to sponsoring the Development Tracker, and they do not have any influence over our editorial direction. As per our About page, “the opinions expressed in posts are solely the opinions of the individuals writing, at a particular point in time. They are not the opinions of… any other organisations with which the authors are affiliated or of the employers of the authors”.

The plan is that I’ll update the Development Tracker page regularly, and do a post once a month summarising the updates, commenting on development trends and so on. This will be timed for near the start of the month, coming out shortly after the date Statistics New Zealand release information on building consents.

The first of these monthly posts will go up next week. Hope you enjoy it and checking out the new page!

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  1. This is fine with me, I’d like to ask that all future posts (not comments) you make on this blog carry a rider at the end to the effect that your business sponsors part of this site and that this has no bearing on your conduct or commentary as all such views are personal in nature.

    The last thing we need in this country is yet another example of a PR outlet masquerading as a blogsite.

    And TB has the ear of a lot of organisations these days, and trust we wouldn’t want to squander it by being seen as yet another industry funded lobby group 🙂

    1. Hi Greg, thanks, and you raise an important point. Again this comment is my personal view, and I haven’t necessarily run it past the others!
      I’m not sure it’s necessary to add something at the bottom of each post – we already try to cover this sort of thing in our disclaimer (at http://greaterakl.wpengine.com/about/about-the-blog/), but I’ll raise it with the others. With that said, it’s certainly time for us to take another look at that disclaimer and make sure it’s easy enough for people to find, etc.
      The other thing is, all of us take a lot of care when we’re blogging on topics that are even slightly related to our jobs, in large part because we need to avoid conflicts of interest. So we’re treading carefully with this, as we do with other things. And things that are sponsored, for example, will be clearly signposted as such. We’re very conscious that we don’t want to threaten what has been built up over years of hard work by Matt and the other contributors to this site.
      Hope that helps to address your concerns 🙂

      1. John also suggesting it as a way for you to protect yourself as well as the blog from “he would say that wouldn’t he – he owns the business” type comments on anything you post.

        Hopefully you’ll keep posting for a long time to come regardless.

        1. Fair enough, and will keep it in mind… may do additional disclosure on a case-by-case basis, since most of what I write about isn’t at all related to development or my occupation. Cheers!

  2. On another transport forum the admins demand that anyone who posts on it who has stood for a political party in the past 12 months, or is affliated to a political party must add that declaration to all their posts.

    Perhaps Transport Blog authors should declare who they work in their posts? At least it allows readers to understand the angles the authors are coming from.

    Having sponsorship is great though and I wish you guys success.

    1. We’re planning to add brief bios to the “about” page sometime soon – mine will have who I work for, whereas Matt is in a completely unrelated industry and Patrick is self employed.
      The thing is, our opinions are determined by many other factors besides where we work. For me, I got interested in transport via postgrad study on energy topics, interest in climate change etc. That informs a lot of my writing. That plus the data analysis skills I’ve built up over seven years of work and postgrad study.
      My issue with having riders, etc at the bottom of each post is that it sort of implies that the info in the rider (works for X as a Y) might be affecting our thinking, even if it’s not. Or that we’re writing in a professional capacity, when we’re expressing our personal views, and indeed that’s always what we’re doing. So my preference is to keep that kind of thing on the about/ disclaimer pages, but it is time to give those pages a bit of a tweak as well.

  3. I look forward to seeing more great content and especially as it will cover other parts of the country.

    Any issues arising from the sponsorship will I’m sure be handled professionally as all issues that relate to the blog.

  4. Regarding the required parking spaces for apartments: I can’t remember which one it was now but I have just come across this interesting little bit from “Sightline Weekly” which I thought may be of interest. It relates to car sharing reducing the number of garage spaces for apartment blocks:

    1. Interesting link thanks Ted – we’ll even be seeing that in Auckland in the near future. If I remember correctly, the Ockham development that had the architectural competition last year is going to have one or more shared cars…

  5. Look forward to the new Development Tracker, and also to the events for this year!

    Maybe some during the day on weekends so those of us who sometimes struggle to get to evening activities can go. Which reminds me, I must try to organise the grandparental babysitting service for the next film night…

    anyway, thanks John for your hard work, and thanks to everyone on TB! Let’s make it a huge 2015!

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