Working with property developers for a better city

Published: Tue 21 Nov 2006 10:27 AM
Working with property developers for a better Auckland
20 November 2006
People across the Auckland region will benefit from improved urban design and better quality development thanks to a Regional Growth Forum project, led by the ARC, to work more collaboratively with property developers.
Twenty seven residential and commercial property developers, planning consultants and financiers were recently surveyed to find out the extent of their role in the intensification and future urban (greenfield) market; their perceptions of the constraints to effective participation in these markets; and their views on the future of residential and business development in Auckland.
This survey was undertaken as part of a wider review of the Regional Growth Strategy, which guides the long-term management of growth within the Auckland region. The strategy manages growth by promoting intensification through quality, compact urban environments that focus most of the growth around town centres and major transport routes.
Paul Walbran, Chair of ARC’s Strategy and Planning Committee, says the council wants to work more closely with developers to identify and remove the barriers to working within and implementing the Regional Growth Strategy while still ensuring that high quality outcomes are achieved.
He was heartened to see that they survey showed that many developers are committed to the strategy, and that the intensification policy had created a new niche in the property market.
Developers did, however, identify areas where the ARC and local councils could improve their processes and procedures so as to better facilitate intensification and quality development. For example, they expressed a desire for streamlining notified application processes and getting a more consistent approach to council policies and practices across the region.
Councillor Walbran says a period of intense market growth in recent years had amplified the issues identified by developers and an anticipated slow down in the property market provided a good opportunity to step back and iron out any bugs in the system.
“The aim is to ensure that councils support and assist high quality innovative developments and good urban design.
“This is, however, a two-way street and developers also have an important role to play in promoting high quality urban design and development. Success ultimately depends upon there being a constructive dialogue between councils and developers,” says Councillor Walbran.
Regional Strategy and Planning Committee councillors today voted to undertake further consultation with developers to discuss their concerns and suggestions for enabling them to more effectively work within the strategy’s parameters. They also voted to broaden consultation to include urban heritage experts and advocates.

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