Seven Ideas for Auckland’s 175th Birthday – Part 1

Feb 11, 2015
Seven Ideas for Auckland’s 175th Birthday – Part 1


This is a guest blog from Jonathan and was originally published on his blog

With so many good ideas, we have split this into two parts – this is part 1.

Today is Auckland’s birthday and a chance to celebrate the best little city in the world! It’s also a good chance to think about what could make the next 175 years even better.

1. What if we built a green highway?

Jonathan Good 1On a map our city is bisected by motorways, veins of concrete running from North, South, Northwest, Southwest and Southeast.

Imagine if we joined up all the little parks around the city to create a green equivalent of a highway. A corridor of green in which walkers, runners, cyclists and skateboarders could connect between all the amazing and different parts of our diverse city.

2. What if we built a forest by the sea in the city?

Jonathan Good 2In Auckland’s CBD spectacular views of the Waitamata Harbour torture you like a mirage. Views of the waterfront are ubiquitous but there are almost no places where public spaces touch the water. Instead endless obstacles intervene – buildings, fences, and car-parks. This isn’t how you show off.

Imagine if we took all the Council land we have and built a public space to be proud of. A place where families, tourists, everyone could enjoy being outside on the most beautiful waters in the world, in the heart of the city.

Imagine if this waterfront was a replica of the original forests that thrived here, if it supported some of our iconic native birds to live, not on far away islands but here, at home, in the city.

3. What if we trialled Sunday Streets?

Jonathan Good 3Auckland has 7,000km of roads, that’s 5 metres for every man, woman and child in the city.  These spaces might be packed in rush hour, but the rest of the week they languish. Moreover they are just the kind of connecting spaces that can bring communities together.

Imagine if we closed them to vehicles when they are least needed (e.g. a few Sundays in summer) to let everyone use them to wander, meet, and hang out. In San Francisco a schedule of closures sees each neighbourhood take back it’s high street one Sunday in summer.

Imagine the Franklin Road Christmas lights if the street wasn’t packed with cars and the pedestrians could spill out, and entertainers could fill the street. Imagine Tamaki Drive with no cars, not for a triathlon or a running race, but just to wander and enjoy the view and the beaches.

4. What if we opened up all our data for the public to use?

Jonathan Good 4The Auckland Council measures all kinds of things, from air quality, to traffic, to water quality, to how many people catch the bus at West End Road*. But try searching for data on Auckland and it’s surprisingly hard to access. If we want our city to be the best, and to make the best decisions, we need to not only share information. but pioneered new ways of working as a data-driven city.

Imagine if we partnered with Google to build the best possible public transport system. Google Maps is used by most smart-phone users worldwide and could optimize the network around the trips people want to make. Transport is all about networks and Google could help make Auckland the envy of the world.

Part 2 on its way soon!

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