Bike Auckland is happy to announce that we are joining the Coalition for More Homes to support Auckland passing the Unitary Plan – giving us the ability to get on with building the homes that our growing city requires.
One of the key reasons Bike Auckland exists – alongside the joy of riding bikes, of course – is that we love our city and want to see it prosper. With housing having become a crisis over the last decade, this is not a time when we want to stand off to one side, even if at first glance it may not relate to transport or bikes.
In fact, transport and housing are two sides of the same coin: a city with housing choice also offers more transport choice.
And the consequences of not passing the Unitary Plan are stark. Either our poor will get poorer while our young professionals move overseas – or Auckland will sprawl ever outwards, saddled in perpetuity with clusters of rural dormitory suburbs that are barely connected to the rest of the city, but still require hundreds of kilometres of new roads and other low-density infrastructure which ratepayers will struggle to maintain properly unless rates keep rising every year. Indeed, both scenarios could well occur at the same time if we are too timid with our new plan.
Passing the Unitary Plan is not just about improving people’s ability to house themselves now, or preventing a slow decline of Auckland in the future. Bike Auckland also sees the Unitary Plan as a chance to build a city that will be more urban in the best sense of the word.
A city with townhouses and mid-rise blocks in more areas, and high-rise apartments in a few regional centres.
A city that is vibrant because it allows people to thrive, and to choose where to live – whether they prefer the suburban lifestyle with garden or the activity of the city’s centres.
A city where more Aucklanders live close enough to work, school or play that they can freely choose to walk or bike there – and where streets can be made friendly to people, because they are not as congested with long-distance car commuters.
Over years and years of advocacy work, Bike Auckland has learned how hard and slow change can be – and we’ve also learned the power of strong, confident moves towards the future. Now is the time for an important step for our city. Let’s pass the Unitary Plan so we can get on with building more homes for Auckland.