The ‘Unitary Plan,’ of Auckland Council is slowly changing the outlook of the country’s largest City with the largest population, increasing the workload of architects, builders and others connected with the building industry, an industry expert has said.
According to Vivek Anturkar, Managing Director of East Auckland based Space Designers, one of the fastest growing architectural design firms, the Council’s plans and the creativity of urban designers will enhance the aesthetic beauty of the City’s landscape.
“Auckland faces acute housing shortage and we need houses that are affordable to most people. Our main focus is to reduce construction costs and ease the burden on first-home buyers. We need to work harder and smarter,” he said.
Mr Anturkar was speaking to Indian Newslink on the occasion of the opening of a new, purpose offices of Space Designers at 178 Pakuranga Road in East Auckland on February 2, 2018.
Green Star Rating
Mr Anturkar said that Auckland needs more Green Star ratings houses to address issues related to Climate Change.
“It is still work in progress. Unitary Plan should be able to help us achieve the objectives of the City Council and the central government,” he said.
Preserving the ‘Clean and Green’ nature of New Zealand is central to the Unitary Plan, even after it addresses housing shortage. The Plan incorporates expansion of housing, increase benefits to the existing home owners and provide good housing to all Aucklanders.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said that the Unitary Plan provides a unique opportunity to make the important changes needed to improve the lives of Aucklanders.
“With about three-quarters of a million people extra expected to be living in Auckland within the next 25 years, Auckland has to move up and out. Transport and housing are the two most critical challenges facing the city. They must be tackled together, which is why intensification around town and city centres, transport hubs and arterial routes is critical,” he said.
Auckland is no longer a large provincial city. It is a small global city and the solutions applied should follow the best practices followed in other successful cities around the world.
We need additional supply of land to bring soaring property prices under control and ensure that housing remains affordable for Auckland residents.
The Kiwi dream of home ownership must be kept alive with rents at reasonable rates.
Mr Anturkar said that there would be more five-level apartments coming up throughout Auckland in urban and suburban areas.
“However, in order that they are not stereotyped, architects are now challenged to create innovative houses that are also pleasing to the eye. Space Designers has a few apartment blocks and terrace houses on its drawing boards. Each of them will be different to give a better look to this growing City,” he said.
Space Designers also works with major builders including Fletcher Construction, Signature Homes and Dreamline homes.
“Our objective is to deliver more houses that are designed with optimum space utilisation at less cost to enable more Aucklanders to own their own homes,” he said.
Mr Goff believes that intensification, which is the prime objective of the Unitary Plan, would come with pre-conditions.
“It must be accompanied by good transport infrastructure or gridlock will worsen. There must be good urban design so that we have a City we can be proud of with plenty of green and public open space,” he said.
Mr Goff also said that heritage and environmental protection is critical.
“We do not want the City to lose the best of its character buildings and sense of history. We must protect the iconic features of our environment such as the harbour and volcanic cones that make our city unique,” he said.
Indian Newslink is of the view that the Unitary Plan will not solve all problems faced by Auckland. Land supply is critical but infrastructure funding to service that land is just as important.
The Central Government also has a role to play in restoring an affordable home-building programme while the Auckland Council must ensure that resource and building consents are processed quickly and efficiently to minimise delays which add further cost pressures.
- Vivek Anturkar at his Office (Picture by Ronny Kumaran)
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