In a bid to show that it’s possible to transform streets to be more people friendly a Brazilian urban planning group has scoured Google Streetview to put together examples of change. They currently have over 35o examples including a number from Auckland such as the shared spaces and Jellicoe St.

Here are a few examples but of course there are many many more

Ferenciek Tere, Budapest, Hungry
Av. Duque de Ávila, Lisbon, Portugal
Vester Voldgrade, Copenhagen, Denmark
Rue Rt. Hubert, Montreal, Canada

The results show just how much better it is possible to make our streets – and collated shows the work is a fantastic resource.

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32 comments

  1. Nice. This may be off topic but one thought regarding angle parking. Could we consider making angle parking a compulsory reverse into the space maneuver? So often I see people in small cars reversing out of a space from alongside a van or SUV which really impedes their view until they are into the traffic lane. If they had both reversed into the space then they would be able to see the traffic with less of their vehicle in the lane.

    1. In NZ the angled parking requires driving in forward. If you reverse in this is a ticketable offense! I agree with you that reversing in to parking spaces is safer for a number of reasons however the lazy drive in – reverse out (they will give way to me) attitude is so entrenched that I recently saw a reference to drive out parking as “Parking the wrong way round”. I note that Downers has a reverse in policy in their carparks for safety reasons.

      1. There’s no specific legal requirement to drive in forward; it depends on the orientation of the parking. If a Council marks reverse-out angle parking (i.e. angled the other way) then you would be expected to reverse into them. I think I’ve only ever come across a couple of these in NZ overall. People often say that reverse-in parking is hard to do, yet it’s precisely how standard parallel parking works.

      2. So is it time we made an effort to arrange for Councils or even local Boards to try it?
        Someone mentioned Australian experience, does anyone know where that may be picked up from and how they implemented change?
        If we feel that it would improve safety should that be enough for a start?

    2. I have tried to get engineers / Councils to consider reverse-in parking on 2-3 of routes over the last decade, particularly re cyclist safety, but no success. It seems it is considered too strange for our drivers (and transport professionals).

  2. To be clear, AT just spent 7k per linear m to convert a footpath to a (badly designed) footpath and cycle path. Can we as a city afford such street scape improvements?

    The targeted city centre rates is a legal crime on the rate payers comparible to The Heart Of The City fraud Alex Swney pulled on us.

  3. Notice the glaring difference between those examples and Auckland? The old buildings haven’t been ripped down for faceless apartment blocks. Look at a lot of European cities that were devasted by the war, and you wouldn’t know a thing had happened. I know this is supposed to be a discussion on cities where cars aren’t king, but what we are finding is cities where heritage architecture is king – unlike Auckland where all we seem to want to do is rip down the old buildings and put up apartment blocks of no particular architectural merit.

    1. Auckland has not got buildings like that to rip down, and it largely didn’t ever have, except for a few inner city streets. Most new apartment blocks are replacing miserable low value commercial buildings from last century.

      Please point to the great architecture under threat because of development? The real point is that we should be focussing on how to build well for once, not keeping on keeping tatty shacks out of a fear of what might replace them.

      1. A few streets sure, but that made them all the more precious. We had some great examples of some quite bonkers Victorian architecture in central Auckland and a lot of other town centres – whole streets of it – and it was all torn down in the ’80s without a moment’s thought to what we were losing. Napier started to do the same thing but just in time a visiting expert declared it one of the best examples of a planned city (due the 1931 earthquake) anywhere in the world outside of Bath. Central Auckland had a preponderance of architecture from one period but to the council it appeared to have had no value at all. Christchurch was one of the few places where we had streetscapes of buildings that looked like they were built to last – but sadly the earthquake put paid to that. Hopefully what emerges there will last long enough to be revered like Napier.

      2. Just a pity that the new apartment blocks that got thrown up were also miserable and cheap – and that contributed to the current housing crisis. Auckland is one of the few places where central city apartments are not considered good investments, or even good places to live. Why would you spend good money on property up in the air if looks like it’s going to fall down in 20 years? Far better to have some land. But I agree with your main point. Really good buildings would change everything.

        1. The buildings is one problem—and a big one. Probably part of why there is so much resistance against intensification in other areas.

          The council just not giving a damn if the area is liveable or not is the other problem. It’s visible in a lot of things. Auckland is the only town/city centre where trucks are allowed to use their engine brake. It is forbidden in that other city with a big port, Tauranga. Cops will use their siren in the middle of the night, just because they don’t want to wait for a traffic light, or just to tell the guy inside to open the port of the garage.

          And then it’s no surprise you can buy an apartment in the CBD for less than half the price of a similar apartment in the inner suburbs.

      1. What’s the story behind that building? I guess it’s just the ground floor which is being used as parking?

        And it appears space in the CBD is still quite low value then? Or is someone just land banking there?

        1. Its land banking, owned by a developer who is intentionally letting it decline so they can demolish and build a tower in its place.

          1. So I guess we don’t have a dilapidation tax.

            A dilapidation tax (the Dutch word is “verkrottingsbelasting”) is levied because of the detrimental effect of those old deteriorating buildings. Going from pest problems, depreciation of value of surrounding buildings due to how bad it looks, and to those empty buildings undoing the advantages of density.

  4. Depends on your definition of tatty shacks. Those destroyed buildings from WW2 weren’t even tatty shacks they were completely munted shells, yet here they are standing proudly again. Each city has its own version of heritage buildings, and while we in New Zealand might not have glorious architectural samples from the dawn of time,our old buildings, be they ever so humble, are still part of our heritage.

    1. What is heritage? Do you mean anything not new is holy and glorious? Everything in the built environment was new once; each field replaced a wilderness, each shack a field, and so on. Everything we build now is future heritage; how valuable it is depends on well we design and build it.

      I am simply calling for more effort to go into the quality of what we build than into just trying to stop change out of a fear that there won’t be improvement.

      Auckland has always grown in bursts, and we are having another burst now. These periods of growth are no more stoppable than it is easy to get much to happen during the intervals of stagnation. And each burst leaves its mark, these are the moments that shape our city. It matters hugely what we do. Change is inevitable; least focus on making it good change.

      Architecturally one of the best parts of the city, the south side of lower Shortland St – O’Connell St, was the product one one such burst, sweeping away the previous timber buildings on these sites. Now i would fight to keep these buildings as well as to improve their context, but it’s great their owners, architects, and builders were able to clear the sites in order to build them. And it’s important that we allow other new buildings to replace older less valuable ones. But lets make sure they are as good as they possibly can be it todays terms. That’s how you build a greater city; dynamic change.

    1. As if those other countries had dirt-cheap contractors or super-efficient Councils.

      We seem to have tons of money for motorways. We can afford better.

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