Eye on Auckland’s Vision for Auckland #2

On July 7, 2011 by Eye on Auckland

Our Manifesto for Auckland continued.

In PART 1 we showed you how Precincts can create distinct and vibrant quarters for the city. In PART 2 we will show you how SHAPE and COLOUR can transform a dull, grey and rigid city landscape. We feel that Auckland is very monotone and that it is too square. In this case it is not hip to be square and we need to follow the recipe that is making great cities even greater. Here are our suggestions.

PART 3 continues HERE

42 Responses to “Eye on Auckland’s Vision for Auckland #2”

  • MichaelL

    Looking at this presentation I have never realised just how dull Auckland really is.

    We need to lay the foundations sooner rather than later and build up as we go along. I can’t help feeling that we have really missed some great opportunities to introduce all of the above i.e. at Aotea Square, Shared Spaces and Wynyard Quarter. The Council latch’s onto one idea and they stick to it like glue.

    A fantastic presentation of what can be and people need to see this so that they demand more from the Auckland Council.

    • Gordon

      Couldn’t agree more with the lost opportunity bit, here we had a blank canvas and we didn’t do much with it. A little imagination goes a long, long way.

      Great presentation, you have hit the nail on the head, we need to be more organic, more cheerful (colour) and less rigid/conservative.

    • James B

      I disagree. The new public spaces are not missed opportunities. They are instead creating opportunities. Getting the bones right is just as important as putting on the feathers. Just because we’ve put Aotea Square in the finished basket, doesn’t mean we can’t continue to add to it. A statue here, recladding the Aotea Centre, renovating the facade of the metro centre. You can’t build a city in a day. I think if we get the fundamentals right we can continue to build on the public spaces we have created in recent years and will be creating in the future.

      • MichaelL

        I agree in part but don’t you think that we should be doing it right from the word go ? There is nothing special about Aotea Square, everybody will tell you that it is soulless, nothing for children, dull and hardly inspiring. The RWC is coming and Auckland is the main focus. Auckland is the face of NZ and we could have presented a much better Aotea Square. We won’t even have a big screen there, unbelievable.

        The shared spaces are turning into huge car parks and they are just as boring as the rest of the streets. Where is the imagination ? where is the vibrancy that the Council likes to remind us of ? Grey, hard and more grey is all that we are getting.

        I must add that St Patrick’s Square is by far the best upgrade that we have, they paid attention to detail and it shows. It has been done well from word go so I don’t see any excuse for the horror that is Aotea Square.

        In a nutshell, do it well from the start and then focus on other areas of the city that need major attention. Doing it bit by bit looks unfinished and underwhelming.

        • Simone

          Well said Michael. I agree that things should be done well from the word go and they must pay attention to detail. Aotea Square looks sad (except for BOX, that is great) and it is screaming out for help. It needs something, maybe a carousel for children, strange sculptures, a water feature, definitely colour – something.

          St Patrick’s Square is my favourite, they really put a lot of effort into the design and it shows. They have paid attention to detail and the creative juices flowed. Just a shame about the buildings facing onto the church :(

        • James B

          You’ve missed my point entirely. My point is that we don’t have unlimited amounts of money and time. Throwing around hyperbole that Aotea Square is a ‘horror’ or a ‘missed opportunity’ is damaging. Aotea Square is 200% better than it used to be. Could it be better. Sure. However the opportunity exists now to make it better. If we try to make everything perfect from day 0 we run the risk of paralysing progress.

          • MichaelL

            I respect your views and I do get it but I still feel that pushing the boundaries in terms of creativity doesn’t cost that much more. I just get the feeling that they accepted the first proposal that came along and that was that. I would rather they concentrate on one project at a time and do it right than spread themselves too thinly.

          • James B

            I don’t really mind either way. Go for the big bang straight away or incremental steps. What I am saying is that just because something is not ideal it doesn’t make it ruined.
            The shared spaces are interesting. People are already writing them off as expensive carparks. Yet we haven’t really seen the full potential of these spaces. That will only come with Elliot and Fort Streets. Part of the problem with Derby is that the retail is not really that suitable for shared spaces and the launch at the end of Autumn was poorly timed to coincide with a period in which Auckland becomes particularly wet and cold. Put in some proper CCTV monitoring and ticket people remotely. In summer I imagine the front of the stables in Elliot Street and the area in front of Velvet Burger will become great places to sit and have some lunch.

  • RichardUK

    Some of those visuals I recognise from Madrid, a city that is adopting the very same “recipe” that you have proposed and it is working so well for them. Everybody wants to be in Madrid right now.

    Melbourne was also a hell-hole not so long ago and look at what the very same principles have done for them. If Auckland ignores this it is at their own peril. I hope that you made it very clear to them.

    Great work !

  • TrainFan

    As much as I approve of all the new projects and upgrades across the city, this document shows that we are not doing nearly enough. At the rate that we are going we will have to play “catch-up” for ever and we will never be able to build on something that is already established.

    This is an eye opener for me and I am sure that it will be the same for many who see this. METRO magazine, the NZ HERALD and other local media should make an effort to create a public awareness campaign and to promote your ideas.

  • Simone

    I forgot to mention that I also agree with TrainFan, this should be seen by as many people as possible so that people can see that we are not performing to our full potential as a progressive city.

  • James

    Wow, this is quite sobering to say the least. One has to wonder what happened to our creative industry, where did it go ?

    Part 1 and Part 2 of the manifesto has made me think and I must say that my view points have changed a lot. I always thought that Auckland is fine the way it is but now I want more. We can do better.

    What would Part 3 do to me ;)

    Thanks for the docs.

    • Gordon

      Great post. One can’t blame the creative industry looking for greener pastures, there isn’t much incentive to stay here if you aren’t free to dream big and be bold. In saying that, small towns across New Zealand are actually producing some amazing urban architecture. Take a look at Picton’s new waterfront, they are putting Auckland too shame.

      It makes me wonder why small towns can be so creative and Auckland isn’t. Who is to blame ? In this case I think that the blame lies solely at the front door of the Auckland Council.

  • Mollybrown

    Wow, there is so much that I love here. I want it all :) Wynyard Quarter is the perfect place for us to start thinking outside of the square and it is the perfect place where we can unleash our creativity. If there is one place where we must be bold it is here.

    The one trick pony must be locked away in the stable and we must set the wild horses free.

  • Alan

    Creativity costs nothing, ignorance can cost us a lot in the long run. If you want a vibrant city then you need to be prepared to deliver that. The Auckland Council needs to practice what it preaches, as well as deliver.

    As for Darby Street, something needs to be done about the luxurious car park that they have created for lazy petrol heads. Pedestrianise it and stop making excuses for motor vehicles, they will get over it in due course.

  • HotPixel

    This will make such a big difference in winter when Auckland has grey streets and grey skies. Most people also wear black, it is so depressing. Colour = vibrant, Organic = life.

    I love the examples that have been shown, there is a lot of ideas here and we can manipulate them to suit our part of the World.

  • AbelTasman

    As much as there have been some major changes in the city I do believe that we need to try harder. The “she’ll be alright” mentality just doesn’t cut it anymore. This post reconfirms that.

  • little_miss_muffet

    @James B

    “Part of the problem with Derby is that the retail is not really that suitable for shared spaces”

    I think you will find a mix of retail and hospitality is just what shared spaces were made for. Currently Elliot looks like an ash cloud has descended upon it and await the final product before I make a final judgement. Come on Auckland Council – give us some colour!!!!!

    As far as missed opportunities go, sure they are not missed as there is still the opportunity for to correct them – but what a waste of time – first reinventing the wheel and then finally conceding to do what should have been done in the first place. Public spaces are no longer spaces that people come across by accident and linger for a while, – they should be well intentioned spaces that are a mini destination within themselves. Aotea delivers 3 times a year- the rest of the time it is a wasteland of nothingness punctuated by bored office workers seeking some relief from the greyness that permeates the main walks through Auckland CBD.

    • James B

      Darby Street contains no hospitality though. A sandwich bar, kebab shop and a bakery are not real hospitality. The one bar they have there is underground and doesn’t really open until after dark.
      As for Aotea Square. Little time has been wasted. Most of the work done was on repairing the roof. Now this has been done changing the look and feel of Aotea Square could be as simple as providing a night market, adding a playground or fountain, changing the surrounding buildings. These can be done while integrating the finished work. My point is that things aren’t terrible or perfect. They’re somewhere on a continuum.

      • little_miss_muffet

        James B I am having a hard time trying to imagine your vision for a shared space. Sandwich and kebab shops are ideal candidates and will bring some colour and life to the space – they can even put tables outside their establishments.

        Aotea was not about the roof – it was Auckland’s brand new square and in it’s present form it is pitiful.

        • James B

          Not they aren’t they close in the mid afternoon, aren’t open on weekends and are places where people stay just long enough to bolt down a sandwich or a kebab before leaving. The bars and restaurants of Elliot and Fort Streets provide experiences that make people linger over a meal or a glass of wine. That is my vision for shared spaces.
          As for Aotea. I’m not saying it’s great or even good. What I am saying is that the completed works provide a platform for steady improvements. You seem to see things entirely in black and white terms. It’s perfect or it’s crap. I just don’t see what the problem with doing things in stages is.

          • little_miss_muffet

            I see what you are saying about Elliot street which is ideal.

            The problem with Aotea is, that there are no further plans or money budgeted to go any further. It was not a staged upgrade. The good news however as you point out is that it CAN be further improved – when or how is anyone’s guess – but a definite nail in Aotea’s coffin was the dropping of the big screen. Little hope is left for Aotea when something of that nature can be dictated by people who have chosen to live in the city and the don’t want the noise that comes with it.

          • James B

            Yeah, it is a shame that there are no further improvements planned. The loss of the big screen is a bit disappointing. I hope the council starts to focus on the Mayoral Drive side of the square. A cool building on the carpark by the Q Theatre could help to shield the apartments along Myer’s Park from the noise of Aotea Square and provide a nice entrance to the park. Connect the park to the square. I’d also like to see the metro building opened out to square. I’m sure you could probably glass the frame bit of the centre and put a few bars restaurants and cafes in them.

    • Matt

      I look forward to the day when tables and chairs spill out into these spaces so that cars don’t have any space to park. I was sitting in Darby Street at about 2pm when a car pulled up and parked at the entrance of the Phillip Fox Towers, jumped out and went inside. Fifteen minutes later he stepped out carrying a coffee and a sandwich. Darby Street is now a convenient drive thru :lol: You can park right in front of the door and it is free. How convenient. The best car park in the city.

      • Goody2shoes

        Wait until you see Jean Batten Place, it has also become a car park. Pedestrians have been squeezed between parked cars and mobile cars. It is worse than before. Has anybody else also noticed that there are more cars using roads such as Darby, Fort Street and Jean Batten Place than ever before ?

        • Gotham

          I have also noticed an increase in traffic. It is as if car drivers have discovered a new scenic drive and I am not surprised that Jean Batten Place is being used as a car park. There are no signs forbidding it and it is free. What more can you ask for.

          • James B

            They need to get tough with fines. They’re very good at enforcing bus lane clearances now. Currently watching a towie getting ready to start towing cars away on Wellesley Street. They need to bring that sort of efficiency to shared spaces. Have tow truck drivers patrolling the streets. If you park in a shared space. You get towed. No excuses.

  • Joseph

    These ideas make Auckland far more photogenic. Definitively something that has been missing from Auckland, shapes, colour and thought provoking public art. In the past they seem to have believed public art needed to be low maintenance forgettable metal slabs. I like the new coloured eggs in Newmarket. Simple but effective.

  • Calvin

    I bet everyone that comments positively on these will practically live at Wynyard Quarter when its complete, so we don’t have to hang about the rest of the city which is a bit dull, so see you all there when it’s done. Auckland will be an amazing city one day, we just have to wait a while and pressure the council a bit.

    • James B

      Yes Wynyard Quarter will be nice. But there are some other nice areas around, Britomart, Fort Street, Lorne Street. High Street and O’Connel are still nice inspite of the traffic lane down the middle of High.

      • Calvin

        Yea theres no doubt that Auckland has lots of very nice little spots around, all the more fun when you find them and never knew they were there before, but just in general Auckland is at the moment a bit dull in many places, but I dont think it will take long for a large part of the city to be nice. But New Zealand is so lovely anyway so it doesnt matter too much.

      • MichaelL

        I am taking a guess that you are referring to Fort Street after the upgrade ? as it stands now it is awful. I agree that High Street has the potential to be the best street in the city but I hate walking around there in its current state. The cars need to go. The Auckland Council fails to see that it will be very inexpensive to convert High Street to a pedestrian/cycle area like yesterday. Just stick some bollards up and voila.

  • Matt

    I love all your ideas, it gets me so excited. Like somebody else mentioned, you don’t realise just how dull the city centre is until you look at this. I have hope that we will catch up and be more progressive but it is up to the Auckland Council, they had better wake up and smell the coffee.

  • Goody2shoes

    As much as I love your ideas I am not optimistic. I was so excited about the shared spaces but after seeing what has become of them I just can’t be bothered anymore. Melbourne is looking like a really attractive option. The Auckland Council is way too weak in my opinion.

    • MichaelL

      +1 I also feel that the Auckland Council is way too soft. They can’t even reinforce the rules at Darby Street, how are they going to implement all the other changes :lol:

  • Suffrage

    I have left a comment in Part 1 and I shall repeat myself. You have said everything that I have been saying all this time. Bravo ! I love the ideas and like so many have stated here, the Council had best catch a wake up and get serious about the city. No more little design competitions where adults can bring their children to vote for the design that they like. I will never forget the Queen’s Wharf saga, it was an embarrassment on a global scale.

  • The Eye

    Thanks for all the comments and support. I think that it is safe to say that more needs to be done, especially when it comes to Shared Spaces. We also agree that the Council is making some amazing changes but they need to be bolder, more creative and less conservative.

  • Gollum

    Incredibly powerful stuff and quite an eye opener. Part 1 just blew my socks off and then I see this explosion of colour and I start to feel really sad that Auckland is so sterile. Does the limit of our colour range only stretch between light grey and black ? Really pathetic. Come on Auckland, brighten our day and our lives. I challenge you !

    • Monster Munch

      Judging by the way that people dress and the local streets I would say yes :) I have always thought that we need colour to break our dull environment. Thank God for the Asian comunity, they at least have the balls to dress up and add colour to the city.

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