Included in the Housing NZ presentation describing what changes they wanted for zoning in the Unitary Plan that I wrote about the other day was this interesting graphic showing the level of change in the population of Auckland from the 1996 to each of the census’ since.

Change in Population Density 1996-2013

That bright red spot above the city centre is one of the is the result of thousands of people shifting into the area and stats NZ estimate that the growth has been continuing with the population of the city centre now over 40,000, up from just 5,000 in 1996. This growth is one of the key reasons the city centre has become more vibrant in recent years – and will continue to do so.

City Centre Population - 1996-2015 2

The bright red around Albany, Henderson and Botany will represent large swathes of suburbia being being developed on greenfield lands.

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  1. Botany/South East Auckland area is the worse designed area of Auckland regarding public transport. Building up around this area will inevitably increase pressure on the roads which itself is not sufficient to accommodate the current dwellings.

  2. “The bright red around Albany, Henderson and Botany will represent large swathes of suburbia being being developed on greenfield lands.”

    Large scale greenfield development occurred in conjunction with increasing density of the population in the CBD.

    1. Yes. Development has happened in the places where we have allowed it.

      However, it’s telling that the red blob at the centre doesn’t spill out further. Demand for increased centrality hasn’t translated into a development boom in the inner suburbs, because operative planning regulations haven’t allowed it to happen.

      I’ll give you a concrete example. A church property down the road from me was recently up for sale. The realtor was advertising development potential on the sign, but citing operative district plan rules, which would have let you get only five standalone houses on the lot. As the minimum lot size was around 500m2, and current land prices would be in the range of $1500-2000 in the area, you’re looking at minimum prices of $1-1.5 million once you factor in build costs and developer profits. Minimum.

      What makes it even crazier is that there’s a 5-storey apartment block right across the street, and several other 3-4 storey blocks of flats on the same street. So a midrise apartment block wouldn’t even be out of character for the area – in addition to being a hell of a lot more affordable for people wanting to live there – but it was prohibited under the old rules. (I haven’t looked at what’s allowed under the Unitary Plan.)

      1. It’s going to have both, Peter – the old building + a 5 storey (?) apartment block. The apartments in the old building start at $1.6m.

        But I agree it is not an optimal use of such a large site in an inner suburb with good transport links.

        1. Yes – I walked by there last night and took a look at the ad on the front. The Unitary Plan looks like it may have been positive for development capacity on the site. My point was more to illustrate that such a thing wouldn’t have been allowed under the previous rules.

          But yikes, $1.6m to live in a renovated old church…

          1. The PUAP has been very good for the site, about $800,000 per apartment to the good.

            Old rules with their sprawl and their apartments being built in town 4x faster, certainly would have prevented that from happening.

    2. “Large scale greenfield development occurred in conjunction with increasing density of the population in the CBD.”

      Unclear what you are saying? They did occur at the same time. To claim the increase in central city population was aided by or occurred from the sprawl, if that is what you are meaning, is clearly not true.

      Once again these maps show how all the people shouting with rage about investment in the central city are all generally living in those areas of the city showing no growth.

      1. Of course I am saying that the sprawl aided the intensification of the CBD, it kept the price of land down. Whilst we were carrying out sprawl between 1998 and 2008 we built almost 20,000 apartments in the CBD. Since then we’ve stopped the sprawl and in the decade from 2008 – 2018 are on track to build 4000 apartments in the CBD.

        Nowadays we don’t build many apartments.
        And we build the few we do on cheap land away from the CBD.

        1. I think you’re a little bit out of touch with what’s happening in Auckland or are simply trolling. Have a walk around the central city if you are under the impression that no new apartments are being built or re-read one of the many development posts on this blog to see the amount of central city apartment development that is going on.

          Furthermore, sprawl hasn’t reduced the price of intercity land. In fact quite the opposite is happening, central land is becoming more expensive and more valued whilst those at the peripheries is reducing in value. There was a post on this just a few days ago. So your central city is dying, sprawl is where it’s at doesn’t really fit with what can be seen to be happening.

          1. You are confused, you are talking about real value but Auckland does not price in terms of real value. Basically what happens in a normal (sanely managed) city is property prices mimic real value. In a sanely priced city peripheral land section is worth way less than an apartment and this is a price signal to build apartments. Auckland is not one of the sane places.

            In Melbourne the median price of an apartment is AUD550,000 and a median clear section is worth about AUD260,000. In Auckland median price apartment is NZD400,000 and the median price of a clear section is NZD600,000.

            Now Melbourne is 3x bigger than us and you’ve just told me Auckland is booming, how many apartments do you think are in the production line for Melbourne?

          2. Land at the peripheries is reducing in price? Not in Swanson – 20006 600m2 $230,000, 2013 600m2 $370,000, 2016 600m2 $600,000 or 450m2 $450,000…

            Good to see that the “yellow” shading between Henderson and the CBD largely follows the western railway line. 🙂

    3. I wouldn’t read too much into it. The scale is change in population per km2. A bunch of low density sprawl from nothing will be able to achieve 1000 per km2 but not add all that many people

      1. For each of those 1000s moving to sprawl, several 100 come from other parts of the city and free up the space they leave behind for development. Thank goodness we’ve stopped that from happening, imagine how many more apartments we would have today* if sprawl had continued.

        * about 8000 more with a further 17,000 in the production pipeline, based on extrapolations made from contemporary urban areas.

  3. Can you explain whether this reflects relative density change and/or absolute density

    two zones equa size
    Zone A starts at 100 people, gains 100, now 200 people (doubled)
    Zone B starts at 1000 people, gains 100, now 1500 (50% increase)

    Which would be redder?

      1. Matt stop cherry-picking comments and taking them out of context. Just answer blindly based on emotion and intuition as if it was clear what EC is saying.

        1. I think his question was fair enough, and not trolling – I think he just typed 100 when he wanted to type 500 in the second line. It’s a fair question as to whethr the map colours reflect percentage density change or not? (It may be included in the top right text box, but that is very hard to read)

    1. I’m guessing ‘absolute’, based on those little text boxes. Looks like they’re shading based on ‘000s so that would have to be absolute rather than percentage.

  4. The lack of a massive red spot reflecting the Stonefields development which houses many 1000s in a reasonably dense fashion with a mixture of houses and apartments on a previous brownfield site, makes me worry about the integrity of these pictures.

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