Submissions to the Productivity Commission’s Low-emissions economy draft report close today June 8th, here. Arrrg.

There is a great deal that’s really good in the report, but one thing that I feel the Prodcom is missing is the changing nature of our cities, in particular Auckland. And that they therefore are missing an important tool they should be more positive about using, not only in the transition to the post carbon economy, but to generally improve so much else besides.

Change is accelerated in cities, so when it’s occurring its vital to guide that change consciously in order to get them into best form for the future. It’s clear we’re in such a phase of morphological change now.

It is true that, in general, most of New Zealand’s urban form is decidedly un-urban, what is counted as urban areas are mostly auto-dependent low density places: Suburban form, ironically, is our dominant urban form. Not always, but often these places are not only lower density, but are also auto-dependent by design. Places that are hard to function in without first grabbing your car keys; there’s often no amenity close by to walk to, nowhere safe to ride a bike, and little transit of sufficient quality to use. The Prodcom conclude that this must be the result of choice. The old revealed preference argument. And yes both more space and private gardens (and sea views, and long holidays, and so on) are luxuries that most people agree they’d like more of. Yet recent change in geographically constrained and growing places, especially Auckland, Wellington, and Queenstown, show that when allowed, people make real world trade-offs, and choose other types and locations of habitation. And when offered good quality public transport and safe places to ride bikes (things New Zealanders consistently say they’d like more of) they choose those too.

I should stress that while I’ve leaned on evidence of more apartment dwellers below it isn’t a binary choice between downtown Auckland or the lifestyle block. There are many shades between, and the answer I believe is for suburbs to get more of what’s great about city life: proximity, choice, and access, and the city in turn to get more suburban in one particular respect: get leafier…. make the city more liveable and ‘burbs more lively, and connect them both together better.

So I have quickly whipped up this submission on their urban form chapter.

Urban Form and Transport Emissions:

We support the Commissions understanding of the value the of walkable mixed-use dense urban form in supporting the low carbon economy. Especially as such form offer structural, inbuilt economies that are self reinforcing for their inhabitants and users. Particularly by freeing people from dependency on private vehicle use.

And while we strongly support the importance of transitioning all our vehicle fleets to electric drive, we also note that reduced private vehicle use is an even more powerful tool in the low carbon economy as does the report:

“Stephan et al. (2013) note that, even with the widespread adoption of electric vehicles, public transport is still more efficient from an emissions perspective, given the emissions embodied in the construction of roads, parking spaces and other infrastructure.” p394

Additionally as the report notes there are so many other valuable advantages in reducing the structural auto-dependency of our urban form:

“In addition to producing GHG emissions, the use of road vehicles has led to several other costs not fully borne by the user (section 11.8). External costs from road transport include traffic congestion, air pollution from harmful exhaust gases (eg, carbon monoxide), noise pollution, and road fatalities and injuries.” p285

However, we feel the Commission is too pessimistic about the ability of urban communities to change to more compact form. The Commission believes, repeating its claim from its earlier Better Urban Form study, that the existing dominant auto-dependent suburban from is all but permanent because of expressed preference.

‘Increasing the density of urban areas, combined with good public transport and accessibility, can reduce vehicular travel and emissions. But intensification of this nature has proven difficult to accomplish and runs counter to the living preferences of many New Zealanders. Urban planning policies are likely to take many years to achieve significant increases in density. By then, reductions in vehicle emissions may have already been achieved through advances in low-emissions transport.’ Draft Report p384 (emphasis added)

There is good evidence that people do choose more dense urban living when offered the opportunity, and when real world constraints are considered. And that this change can occur relatively quickly, in fact more quickly that transition to EVs. Substitution of private vehicle use with public and active transport, while incremental, can build to significance over time, when supported by regulation and infrastructure investment. It is important to note that e-bikes currently outsell EVs. And that public transport ridership growth over the last decade has averaged 6.7% pa v population growth at 2.5%.

For example the Auckland City Centre is both the fastest growing residential area in the country (~50k) and reports the lowest car ownership in the 2013 census, 25% of households with no car. This is much more likely to be not through privation, but through choice; the absence of need. Areas that can support more of this type of living should be encouraged, especially the inner cities of biggest cities, and their secondary centres. And the creation of new auto dependent sprawl distant from employment, education, and entertainment should no longer be subsidised or encouraged.

Auckland’s historically low density urban form and low public transport use are at least as much the result of policy and pro-sprawl and driving subsidies as any unchanging preference, as both are clearly changing as these settings change. The relaxation of some restrictions on denser form and recent investment in both public and active transit infrastructure and service have been met with strong uptake of each.

We find the argument that mode shift to public or active transport from driving is likely to result in little change in emissions because they only replace short trips (p308) also to be weak, because it ignores locational changes that often accompany a switch from driving. A person or household moving from a low density auto-dependent place to a denser one well served by public transport, is likely to be replacing a long drive with a shorter public or active transport journey. So in fact the change will likely be doubly valuable from an emissions (and other transport cost) point of view. Additionally as Auckland’s now ambitious public transport plans accelerate over the next decade, plenty of the new users will be making longer trips on the new services instead of driving. And thirdly this is also a good argument for investing in high quality inter-city systems such as our Regional Rapid Rail programme (now government policy).

While it is likely that electric cars will enable dispersed living to continue with a lower emissions profile, we note that the transition of the entire current fleet will also take a long time to occur and is still a resource hungry pattern overall.

Therefore we agree strongly with the Auckland Council position:

“A practical policy approach could deliver better integration of transport and land-use including better transport-oriented development; rapidly increased and sustained uptake of public transport, walking and cycling; promotion of shared mobility and travel demand management; and improvement of fleet fuel efficiency – including but not limited to increasing electric vehicle (EV) uptake (including vehicles other than private cars).” (Auckland Council 2017, p10

A better outcome, while also encouraging vehicle change, is to help guide all existing and new urban landuse to a less resource hungry pattern. This means allowing and enabling:

  1. mixed use zoning as a default, so employment and living may more easily co-habitate (regulate for industrial externalities directly).
  2. a greater built density at all transport nodes, certainly this would be more achievable than blanket up zoning of existing low density areas.
  3. a greater density at desirable well connected locations where the economic conditions for development are more favourable.
  4. coordinate high quality public transport provision with increases in allowed density.
  5. much improved inter-city transit options as well as intra-city ones.

4. Conclusion

The need to get to a zero carbon economy by 2050 means that all levers will have to pulled. While we support the transition to electrify existing transport systems, there is also a very useful role for improved urban form to play in this transition. It is our view that the draft report doesn’t cover the opportunities in incentivising and enabling a conscious transition to higher density land use through better pricing of costs, internal and external, and changes to land-use regulation at both central and local government levels, particularly in our bigger and faster growing cities.

We propose the Commission amend the emphasis of 11.14, from one of minimising the value of supporting denser walkable urban form to one of supporting it, as the contribution may currently be small but the potential for change is large precisely because our current urban form is so dispersed.

“Increasing the use of public transport, and cycling and walking provide relatively small emissions reductions benefits. On the other hand, shifting to these modes can achieve significant other benefits, including reduced congestion, better health outcomes and overall productivity gains”.

This may apply aggregate i.e. the whole of NZ, but there’s lots of potential in cities.

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48 comments

  1. One of those levers could be join with other world cities that want to ban diesel vehicles by 2025. Mexico city, Paris, Madrid and Athens.

    1. I agree. We now know that manufacturers (not just VW) claims about “clean diesel” were a pack of lies. Even if climate change was not an issue, diesel car emissions are very unhealthy and cause many respiratory deaths. Why cant we adopt directly the new Eurospec laws for vehicle safety and emissions? Japan makes cars that match and there is no point matching Australian emission standards any more.

  2. When submitting on behalf of my community group yesterday, I noted the site said: “Every submission is welcome, but multiple, identical submissions do not carry any more weight than a single submission.”

    It is obviously not a numbers game, this time. Rather, valid points will be considered even if only made by one submitter. Our submission brings experience of an active group whose raison-d’etre has been supporting people to adopt low emissions lifestyles, and we have a decade of experience in what barriers exist. It is just one submission, so I hope it does indeed have as much weight as if we had submitted it for each member of the group.

    I will be keen to see there is no ‘summary of feedback’ along the lines of “65% of submitters believed that…”

  3. Does anyone understand the methane issue for climate change. I can’t figure it out. They say it has an intense effect although the gas breaks down in a few years. Does anyone know of any sensible links I could read. The argument against controlling agricultural methane is that after 10 years of farming the amount of methane created by the livestock is the same as the amount that breaks down. That is providing you have stable numbers of ruminants. Scientific links preferred by not essential.

        1. That’s a good discussion. It’s a pity the link there to an analysis of NZ’s situation is lost, as that would be interesting. Our situation is different to the US. For example, if you want to have an organic vegetarian diet here, you’ll have to buy legumes imported using fossil fuels (currently I have a source for dried peas, no lentils, no beans, no chickpeas.) And, animals that graze need to be studied more; most studies are for animals in feedlots, eating grain that’s been produced with fossil fuels in a carbon-emitting land use; also their guts are unhealthy.

          Red Baron has some good points at the bottom. The work of Allan Savory, Stan Parsons and those working in regenerative agriculture need to be brought into the mainstream science discussion more.

    1. Was just looking at it this morning.

      Estimated at 10 years.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_methane#Natural_sinks_of_atmospheric_methane

      “The most effective sink of atmospheric methane is the hydroxyl radical in the troposphere, or the lowest portion of Earth’s atmosphere. As methane rises into the air, it reacts with the hydroxyl radical to create water vapor and carbon dioxide. The lifespan of methane in the atmosphere was estimated at 9.6 years as of 2001; however, increasing emissions of methane over time reduce the concentration of the hydroxyl radical in the atmosphere.[38] With less OH˚ to react with, the lifespan of methane could also increase, resulting in greater concentrations of atmospheric methane.”

      1. It was that article on Wikpedia that got me wondering. If methane breaks down into CO2 then all we need to worry about is the first 10 years (which of course were well before 1990 so using the UK dibs rule we don’t have to do anything about). The CO2 it breaks down into is the same carbon that was removed from the air by the pasture the cows ate, so no net increase there either. So unless I have it all wrong, we can stop worrying about ruminants and focus on sorting out transport CO2 which is a net increase.

          1. In terms of what we need to do, sorting our fossil fuel emissions is top priority. But there’s a whole lot of carbon up there due to soil degradation, too. I’d put attending to how we use soil as a second top priority, because with regenerative agriculture we can turn agricultural soil into a net carbon sink.

            Methane from the animals themselves is tiny compared to the carbon lost through the way the soil has been treated.

        1. Miff – you do have it pretty much right there. There is a natural carbon cycle where carbon on earth gets eaten, gets transformed into CO2, burped and farted its way up into the skies, and under normal (non-human, non-car-driving) circumstances, eventually makes its way back into the eco-system i.e. into the soil or the sea via earth-based organisms using photosynthesis that converts the CO2 into carbon and then it all starts over again.

          The problem is, of course, that an extra 11 billion tonnes of CO2 each year are being added into the carbon-cycle system, sourced from fossil fuels, and that is too much for the system to happily cope with – the oceans getting warmer, less calcium carbonate in the seashells, more CO2 floating in the atmosphere (we should be well below 350ppm but are currently over 400ppm) and all those ensuing problems that we are currently experiencing i.e. warmer weather = more storms = more intense rainfall = more deforestation like last week etc. Warmer weather in the arctic also means more methane being released into the atmosphere, as the methane hydrate vaporises and warmer ocean temperatures also mean more methane being released.

          But you know all that. It’s the overall increase that is the problem, therefore anything that can be done to decrease that overall will be of assistance – we’re on the precipice of disaster and so even if it is just a 10 year solution, that is going to help as well. While the fault is ultimately in humankind’s excess use of carbon from fossil sources (it took hundreds of millions of years to accumulate all that carbon into oil and coal, but just one hundred years to release it all back into the atmosphere), we’re also responsible for all those extra cows and sheep farting and burping and skewing the natural world. I guess that a cow burping in the Waikato is not that different from a capybara burping in the Amazon, except that of course in the Amazon you have a jungle, busy converting that CO2 back to carbon, while in the Waikato you just have grass and a monoculture, with bugger all CO2 conversion.

          So, yes, I’d say we do need to still be concerned with the cows as well as the cars.

          1. If we changed our farming techniques away from a ‘factory on grass’ model to a mixed-used farm involving the cycling of resources within the ecological limits of the land and water systems in that location:

            a/ our waterways would be cleaned up
            b/ our soil would be growing carbon
            c/ the cow farts would not be so methane heavy, as they would having a diet of mixed ley and woody fodder that is lower in methane that either a grain-based US cattle diet or a clover-heavy NZ cattle diet.

            “Improved productivity” by concentrating on only one of the many aspects of a balanced farm is what is at fault here. Fix that, and all the issues are resolved.

        2. Miffy, true, but that’s not the whole story, because while the methane was breaking down into CO2, the ruminants were busy emitting more methane. Methane is a flow pollutant, it’s the rate of emission that is important, while CO2 is a stock pollutant. Worldwide, methane is responsible for about 25% of global warming, it is definitely important. In addition, difficult negotiations have arrived at an agreement, signed by NZ, on the relative weighting of the different greenhouse gases. So for NZ to now say we are not going to bother to reduce methane would put us in an awkward position. In my view the real difficulty is trade – there really isn’t any point reducing our ruminant methane emissions unilaterally if no one else is even trying.

  4. If its not too late to add to your submission Greater Auckland – see page 393 where the ProdComm report says”The results of more robust studies show that the effects of increasing density are relatively modes. Most studies indicate that doubling the density of a residential area is associated with a reduction in VMT (Vehicle Miles Travelled) of between 5 and 12%…” I think this needs to strongly refuted as sure just increasing the density in far flung suburbs is going to do very little – But that is not what we are talking about – we are (or should be) increasing density around transport nodes, and that donut of missing middle density around town centres where walkability and public transport and cycling are really viable options – often these things are not viable options in far flung suburbs. I think this is really important – please add to your submissions.

  5. Another huge urban issue for anyone intending to submit today is waste: “p 364 “New Zealand has the highest waste emissions per person in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)”

    We got to that place by ignoring the issue, just as this report ignores it still. What NZ needs is to take responsibility for its waste, with product stewardship, crade-to-grave schemes, recycling plants for everything that can be recycled, and much, much more. What we’re leaving behind for the next generation is utterly irresponsible, and there’s nothing in this report that will change it. They’re only focused on trying to reduce the emissions from the landfills instead of trying to reduce the landfills.

    NZ is out of step, here.

    Which is just like the emphasis on trying to reduce carbon emissions from transport by focusing on EVs, instead of on reducing vkt.

  6. 1. Are you not going to put something in to support the comment on p 317? “… Any assessment method will involve important values judgements. Transport infrastructure can have a strong effect on location choice for people and businesses over time, which poses a challenge to conventional economic assessment methods that focus on short-run impacts and put heavy emphasis on travel time savings”

  7. The report attributes our rise in carbon emissions to these factors:

    “Rapid population growth and a decline in prices for fossil-fuel vehicles has caused the vehicle fleet to greatly expand… As a result, New Zealand’s transport emissions have risen more than any other emissions source since 1990.”

    Increases in road capacity, and poor transport planning, has been the cause of our rise in carbon emissions in the transport sector. In other cities, population growth has not been accompanied by a rise in traffic volumes, eg Seattle grew 21.3% in population since 2006, traffic volumes decreased by 3.3%, and transit ridership increased by 41.8%. Similarly, between 1993 and 2017, Vienna’s population increased by 22%, while its private vehicle mode share dropped from 40% to 27%.

    It is incorrect to say that population growth is the cause, and it directs the report to the wrong conclusions. Duranton and Turner have established that vehicle kilometres travelled (vkt) rises proportionally with road capacity. Adding road capacity and failing to invest in other modes is where NZ has failed. The report needs to acknowledge this, so that the logical consequences in terms of our options now are clear.

  8. Sorry to be dominating this discussion, but I’ve put a bit of work into it, so if anyone is thinking of submitting, hopefully they can pick up on some of the issues from my comments.

    p 281 “Adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) represents the most significant opportunity to reduce transport emissions in New Zealand.”

    Reduction in emissions due to a shift to EV technology is a nice-to-have bonus, but has few co-benefits. The rise in emissions has come about because of investment in roads and underinvestment in public transport, rail, cycling and walking. Accompanying the rise in emissions has been the rise in deaths and serious injury (DSI), poor urban form, poor access, safety, and perceived safety, car dependency, social and public ill health, waterway pollution, etc. Reallocation of road space and investment to bring about mode shift is the best approach to reduce emissions in transport, because it reverses ALL these negative trends.

    1. I’ve never seen the reductions in emissions as a big benefit for EVs. The emissions reductions are really quite small. 15 trees a year for me to offset my petrol car emissions. That’s like $15 for me to pay some charity over seas to plant a tree. 4 million vehicles in NZ. Let says that is $100m in carbon emissions. That is tiny.

      It is reducing our importation of oil that has the huge benefit. I spent $1500 a year on petrol. 500 of that is tax, so the remaining $1000 is mostly sent over seas to import oil. Every $1 not sent to Saudi Arabia( never to be seen again) is $0.50 to a local power company paying local people (which gets spent again and again in the local economy), and $0.50 for me to spend on something else. That’s $5b a year we are sending away, we could be spending here a few times more before it leaves to pay for some imported good. It could be worth double that value to the economy.

      Of course we should reduce car usage, but EV’s reduce our dependence on importing oil which has direct economic benefits.

      1. Yes, that’s a good point. But, how do you work out your carbon offsets? Through the ETS carbon credit price? Part of the problem here is that the ETS carbon credit price does not reflect the true cost to the environment and society of using that amount of carbon. Instead, it reflects industry’s understanding of how much they believe they are going to have to pay to make changes. And of course, this in turn is based on the knowledge that they won’t be required to do that much; we’ve never met our targets before, why would we now?

        Business cases and carbon offsets for travel and transport based on a way-too-low carbon credit price are giving the wrong signals.

        This is one reason why a direct carbon tax scheme would be better; the tax can be used by the government to change the behaviour of the polluters, until we meet our targets. The government would have more control, and be able to use it as a useful too.

    2. Trees can’t mitigate anything if they are like the ones the Council is removing near me. They have had a helicopter going all morning carrying bits of tree to the park beside me to be chipped. To mitigate these 6 trees they will now have to plant several hundred. Noisy bastards.

      1. Lose-lose, eh? Why are 6 (presumably big) trees going anyway? Are they dead, dangerous or in the way – and if so, of what?

      1. ‘We examine the effects of urban form and public transit supply on the commute mode choices and annual vehicle miles traveled (VMTs) of households living in 114 urban areas in 1990. The probability of driving to work is lower the higher are population centrality and rail miles supplied and the lower is road density. Population centrality, jobs-housing balance, city shape, and road density have a significant effect on annual household VMTs. Although individual elasticities are small absolute values (≤0.10), moving sample households from a city with the characteristics of Atlanta to a city with the characteristics of Boston reduces annual VMTs by 25%.’

        https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/10.1162/0034653054638292

          1. A example of obscuratory writing concealing a pretty straightforward forward -and intuitive- point: people drive less in dense concentrated cities with more transit!

      2. My pleasure, Patrick. I wasn’t even sure as I worked through it whether there was much point in submitting – the report was written for the ministers of the last government. What I don’t understand is how or if it will feed into the current government’s plans, which are ‘reasonably’ different.

        It reminded me of the NZTA’s Setting of Speed Limits – Summary of Submissions last year. How useful is this report to the current government, given it contains statements like:

        “There is no trade-off between safety and efficiency or prioritising one over the other because the Guide aims to achieve both.”

        “Wholesale change arising from default speed limits would also involve significant cost. The road network contains a high number of roads with default speed limits and if the default limits were changed it would require significant and large scale investment to make these roads self-explaining at different speed limits, otherwise the benefits of the lower limits would not be met.”

        1. Heidi, there is a huge benefit to submitting. James Shaw endorsed the Commission’s inquiry and strengthened it – that’s why they also considered net zero by 2050. As I read their draft report, they read the submissions carefully and also stood up to industry submitters. I am pretty sure the interim climate commission (some of whom will probably move onto the actual climate commission) will be relying heavily on the final report. The submissions to the draft report are online and well worth a look. (I’m going to read yours right now.)

          1. I’ve started reading yours, Robert. Looking great so far. I can’t find mine – have you? What am I missing?

  9. The lucky students who can walk or ride their bike a short distance to school or university have a big advantage over those who live in distant suburb and spend 2 or 3 hours a day getting there. It must be so hard leaving home early and getting back in time for dinner to then want to do some study. And then they will also have not much time for other things.

    1. Jim, this is a huge problem, I agree. Compare two high school students I know. One rolls out of bed at 8:25 and is home at 3:30; the other gets up at 6 and is home after 4:20. There’s a huge difference in their opportunity to relax and be part of their community and family life.

      1. A great many children are sent to schools in distant places because parents ‘see’ benefits while ignoring the benefits of a short commute and time to do other things. I really don’t get it (our son starts intermediate next year and will be going to the local).

  10. My university studies were affected by 1.5 hour commute each way, used to sleep on the train and in class often. Not sure if it was a positive or negative effect.

  11. The increase in transport emissions roughly corresponds to the increase in population which has been huge over the past decade. Why are we importing more people when they are driving up our emissions, causing housing unaffordability, and causing infrastructure headaches?

    1. And that’s the big question right there, which no one in the world has the guts to talk about: far too many humans. For the planet to really be better off, we probably need half as many humans, which means that billions of people really need to die, and pretty fast too, to make a meaningful difference (and not cremated, just buried). That is the topic that no one wants to discuss. 7-12 billion people is inherently completely unsustainable, and needs to change, rapidly.

      Hands up who wants to go first?

      1. I think plenty of people are discussing this, Guy. And as I commented the other day, education has brought birthrates down in even the most impoverished countries. According to some analyses, the population in these places is simply tracking the bubble of adults. Continually worsened environmental exploitation is what we now have to worry about. Loss of biodiversity is now as bad a threat to our existence as climate change is. If we continue at the rate of soil loss that we are now experiencing, we will have next to no fertile soil left in just a few decades, meaning of course that war will intervene before we get to that absolute limit.

        Some of those discussing the issue are respectful, offering suggestions to help us all make a transition now. They suggest that with a vastly changed lifestyle (an end to the fossil fuel party and the huge resource exploitation), we will at least be able to minimise the misery that people will suffer.

        Others fail to grasp the interconnected economies, population migrations, and international causes of environmental degradation and military interventions. And they discuss change as if controlling the migration of people is the solution.

        1. Well if someone migrates from a country where due to a variety of reasons they use less resources etc to a country like NZ where they can build a big house, drive a big German SUV and increase their general consumption while adding to our emissions as a country, that doesn’t just balance out what they were doing overseas. This increases global emissions and resource usage. NZ doesn’t need more people especially people from developing countries.

          1. Yes, and the problem in all this is our lifestyle, not the immigrants that adopt it.

            In terms of transport emissions, you could say we have ‘ample opportunity” to reduce these while also increasing our population. Our starting point is that of a country that is utterly wasteful.

          2. Bollocks. We live the lifestyle of a sparsely populated developed country and enjoy the benefits of that. We didn’t overpopulate by having 5,6,7+ kids in each family. The worst outcome for both us as a country and for the world in terms of global emissions and resource use is to allow mass immigration from developing countries. Why? Because reducing populations in those countries facilities them having more babies while at the same time allowing them to avoid their recklessness and enjoy the lifestyle in a less densely populated country while increasing both our and global emissions.
            Quite simply if the world had the population density of NZ then we could all live and do as we please.

          3. What are you talking about? That’s exactly what happened here. My ancestors who arrived in NZ in the 1840s, 1850s and 1860s had 5,7,12,15 children per family. And they set about removing the forest, and causing huge erosion, as quickly as they could. In fact, they were about the worst demographic to be attempting farming, because they had been divided from the land by a generation or two of industrial factory work and had little understanding of any landscape.

            The oft-used “awareness-raising exercise” of “imagine you wake up tomorrow in the shoes of the poorest person with the least family support – now design a society you thinks is fair” comes up with the best solutions. So why don’t we borrow it and tailor it to this situation:

            Let’s allow immigration only from those countries that have lower carbon emissions per capita than us. For every 10,000 people who immigrate here, we need to send 10,000 people from NZ to their country. Randomly chosen, but in family groups. So no-one knows each year whether they are going to remain in NZ or be sent to a less carbon-emitting country. Of course, the lower our carbon emissions, the less migration involved.

            What do you think our carbon emissions strategies might end up as, if we hopped off our privileged cushion in this way? Pretty darned effective, I’d imagine. We have the opportunity to reduce our net emissions to zero, and that would happen fast.

            A Little Hunger-Games-ish? Well, yes:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_vulture_and_the_little_girl

  12. I agree with your logic Patrick. If Auckland’s population is increasing by 2% per annum then it should be possible to change urban form a lot in a decade. The choice of urban form should not be limited to low rise versus high rise. The best choices are usually in between the two extremes. While building the RTN, it would be great if the corridors along the LRT returned to linear medium density, much as they were when Auckland was first settled.

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