Here are a few photos taken above Auckland from a scenic helicopter flight. Apologies that these aren’t up to Patrick’s usual standard as they were taken through the window on a phone.

First up Pt Chevalier and Mt Eden, classic dense but leafy street grids of villas and bungalows. In the second shot Eden Park stadium stands out as something peculiar, while the streetcar shopping strip heritage of Dominion Rd is clearly visible behind.



Next the city centre. Note the severance of the Northwestern Motorway and Ian McKinnon Dr in the first shot, and the comparatively low impact that the Southern Motorway has on the Newmarket side.



Here we have the domain, tantalisingly close to the City Centre, but with the motorway in between stretching the distance.


And of course the waterfront, showing Auckland finally embracing our greatest asset. I do wonder what happens once the great job on the Viaduct and Wynyard is finished. Will we turn east to do Quay Park justice, or will the container port send attentions elsewhere?



And to finish, the North Shore, new and old. First picture is the ‘industrial’ estate at Rosedale near the heliport. A good chunk of this is actually simple offices and retailing, with the rest warehousing. Textbook road widths, setbacks and car-only accessibility… and they wonder why Apollo Dr gets so congested in the morning. The second shot is Devonport, dense, walkable, lovely and well loved… and completely impossible to replicate today. Lake Rd also gets congested, but at least you can take the ferry or walk to the shops. When did our planning regime go so wrong?



Share this


    1. The 25K stadium is what we should have had instead of Vector – built on top of the old station with a dedicated stop in the basement.

      1. Agreed but now make Vector the convention Centre and have the sports / arena door with direct feed to rail. That would be better than the death star.

        1. Probably a land deal with a developer for Eden Park would pay for most of it and no convention Centre costs.

        2. Imagine that flexibility a convention Centre next to a stadium you could have expos almost the same size as the Construction Expo in Las Vegas.

  1. I guess it all changed when people didn’t want to ride on a rumpty old tram and work in a dead end office job in the CBD doing work that a new fangled computer could do.

    1. …because they’d rather drive a rumpty old jap import in thick traffic to a dead end office job in Albany industrial park instead?

    2. Well that is what they decided to do. It is called revealed preference. That is only a failure of planning if you consider planning to be an activity where you insist other people do things your way.

      1. But you know that is not what happened at all. People did not ‘decide to stop using trams’, the tram tracks were ripped up and that trams trashed, with considerable opposition from the people who did not all agree with this ‘improvement’ at all. No one can choose to use a mode which either is not there or is run down or starved of funding. Trams in Auckland were hugely successful and running at full cost recovery when the decision was made to trash them. A top-down piece of trickery using the phrase ‘it’s a technical matter’…. exactly the same kind of bullshit sophistry that is being used today to butcher those Pohutukawa for road overbuild.

        Such is how we understand the world that this decision now seems inevitable; because it happened. It is harder to imagine a different past that the one we have, people also struggle to imagine a different future than our present too, yet it is certain it will be different. But in this case because of the example of Melbourne and the handful of other cities that bucked the trend and managed to keep and then modernise their tram networks it’s not impossible. But that is another matter, the point is the case of Auckland’s trams being destroyed does not reveal preference.

        The lack of popularity of the crappy bus service that they were replaced with is much closer to revealed preference, although still the way that all PT services were allowed to decline certainly tilted the scales too. Then as now, people tend to avoid lousy options. But we are in a new age where all modes if delivered will be used; Transit will grow strongly but it doesn’t require driving to decline, though it will by some metrics like per capita, and kilometres traveled.

        1. My understanding is the patronage of trams dropped. So someone must have decided there was a better way for them. The point I want to make about the changing patterns of land use is that people changed because it was popular to do so. There wasn’t some committee of evil engineers who did it to get their kicks. As car use increased grid patterns became a nuisance and reduced amenity so were seen as old fashioned. Working in the CBD became a hassle so people opted for jobs elsewhere even if it meant driving further at higher cost because they accepted the benefits outweighed the costs.

        2. mfwic: “The point I want to make about the changing patterns of land use is that people changed because it was popular to do so.”

          You make it sound as if all this behaviour was entirely the result of free market decisions and wasn’t influenced by public policy and spending at all.

          I’m sure there was much enthusiasm for motoring and suburban living but people’s decisions were also influenced by subsidising roads and dispersive public land use policy.

        3. Tram patronage dropped when the ripped them out! It was at all time high just after the war, and died off as they pulled out the lines.

          There actually was an evil comittee, they planners of the 1949 and 56 masterplans simply decided to forget public transport and invest heavily in motorways, road widenings and carparking.

        4. The was a decision to run them down, they obviously had little maintenance through the Depression and war and once it was decided to kill them they were wound down. I have no doubt that they still would have been a mode share shift to the private car post war, but to describe this as a simple choice between two equal options, a revealed preference, is wildly inaccurate.

          If we had kept them Auckland would indeed be a different and much richer and interesting place, as Melbourne is today. The roads they ran on would be carrying more people than they do now, and fewer cars, we would have a less auto-dependent city, but still with motorways and cars and all those things that other that kept their earlier infrastructure have.

          Anyway, looks like we’re going to see what it like here. Smiley face.

        5. “If we had kept them Auckland would indeed be a different and much richer and interesting place,..” Maybe or maybe Auckland would not have grown to the extent that it did. We just can’t know. The focus on cars and motorways was part of the dream of everyone owning a piece of paradise and that worked until it didn’t. There is a size where car based growth enables rapid expansion with comparatively low cost houses. Auckland benefited from that. The costs were some crap inner city neighbourhoods and the focus on the CBD. But I say it was really really successful.

        6. “Maybe or maybe Auckland would not have grown to the extent that it did.”

          Lol – isn’t that the secret wish of all Nimby’s?

          In any case, Auckland might not have grown OUT as far as it did, but the argument that trams would have inhibited population growth seems rather far-fetched. In any case, trams never were on all roads. If that population growth depends on 95% of all road space being free for cars, then it’s one of those downsides I am happy to throw on the cost side and argue against whatever is deemed to “need” them.

        7. Yeah well maybe. Perhaps people would have flocked into Auckland to live in a tenement in one of the inner city gulleys but I suspect not.
          The dream in the 1950’s to 1980’s certainly included car ownership and the ability to go places that made living here special. The trams didn’t really do that other than get you to work (a job was a reality then not a dream). And could you imagine the noise the cycle lobby would make today about tram tracks! My dad fell off a number of times after getting his wheel stuck in a track. They got rid of them because people perceived them as past it. Same as we are replacing multi-lane roads with bus lanes, same as those who come after us will probably pull out shared spaces or something people currently value.

        8. I dunno, I’ve spent a bit of time in Melbourne and Amsterdam, both of which have plenty of trams and cycles.

          Just a bit of paying attention to what you are doing seems to be required…

  2. It started a long time ago. Demand for suburban lifestyle facilitated by motorways, simultaneous destruction of PT system, cities changing building codes to suit suburban development, often making existing development types illegal (so you can’t replicate the very neighbourhoods that are so valued today), cheap office and distribution space drawing jobs out of city centre, lack of growth control mechanisms, and on and on.

    A shocking failure of planning.

  3. It is very nice view from Top. Auckland is the great place to stay on traveling & holiday trip. I am not living in Auckland but I came here on my holiday cum business trip. That time, I was so excited to see Auckland but now, I can say that I am pretty much happy to see this blog. This is ultimate view evergreen of Auckland.

  4. Does anyone know why the view shaft to the Museum is still protected from development even though the trees have long since blocked the view of the Museum?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *