Urban Auckland

Urban Auckland monitors and comments on the quality of urban and architectural design in Central Auckland.

It is not attached to any private company or professional body.

This gives it a freedom – as well as the strong desire – to act.

Urban Auckland’s origins were with the ‘Rethink Britomart’ campaign which resulted in the Britomart we have today not the demolition of the area and new high rise park that was originally proposed.

The society was formed in 2000 to take court action against Auckland City Council and the development company AMP opposing the non-notified resource consent to what is now the Price Waterhouse Cooper building on Quay Street. In setting the case the ground and mezzanine floors were redesigned and changed from what would have been an empty private space to a lively public place on Auckland’s waterfront. Auckland City Council agreed to establish an Urban Design Panel for major developments within the CBD.

The society’s work includes:

– Submissions to the Royal Commission on the Auckland Council Amalgamation.

– Successfully acted in mediation to change the design of the Spirit of Adventure Trust building on Princes Wharf to maintain a prominent visual and physical public entry to the wharf.

– Took and won a High Court case against Auckland City Council and Norfolk Trustee Company Ltd for failing to notify a proposal to develop a 39 storey apartment tower around the St James Theatre on Queen Street.  Located opposite Aotea Square and within the main civic precinct of Auckland City the focus of the society’s case was that the council did not properly consider the effect design of this building will have on one of the most important urban spaces within the country.

–  Appeared before the ARC Commissioners to maintain public access to the first floor of the development on Princes Wharf and improve the landscaping of the wharf. In this we were successful although we have yet to see the promised landscaping.

–  Appeared before commissioners asking them to have the proposed new ferry buildings on Queens Wharf redesigned.  This was because the design was too mediocre for such an important site.  This was not successful.  We now have mediocre Ferry Buildings.

– Made a submission to the Auckland Council’s Annual Plan – asking to focus on the future development.  This included asking for more urban design skills within council and new positions have been created in response to this request.

– Attended meetings over a two year period on the introduction of urban design skills into central government and their proposed Urban Design Protocol.

– Published articles in the Herald commenting on the quality of Auckland architecture.

– Participated in a consultation meeting on the Auckland Council’s CBD strategy and made a submission on the proposed design of the Queen Street upgrade.

– We took High Court action against the council for granting consent for Ports of Auckland expansion into the Waitemata Harbour.  Ports of Auckland’s intransigence and arrogance has stretched the limits of democracy – just as their expansion was stretching our harbour.  Our action was successful and not appealed by either party.  The decision was welcomed by the general public.  Ports of Auckland and Council are now reconsidering port operations without extending into the harbour.

The Society for the Protection of Auckland City and Waterfront Inc.
Urban Auckland is run by a committee elected annually by the members of the society.
On the committee are Julie Stout (President), Malcolm Walker (Vice President),
Duncan Ecob (Treasurer), Nicky Stuart (Secretary), Patrick Reynolds, Elizabeth Aitken-Rose,
Luke Christiansen and Natalie Allen.

c/- Malcolm Walker Architects, Upstairs, 47 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland 1011
T 09 306 2043 (Julie Stout)