OK, so Auckland is a bogged down disaster. That’s plain and simple. What’s harder to understand is the inability of governments to understand why it is bogged down, and how to fix the problem.
The Auckland Council is reported to have 400 planners on its staff. If this is so, then they should all have to resign and re-apply for their jobs.
Although it helps to be an expert, anyone able to reason should be able to come up with a formula for the management of cities.
For a start, one would need a basis for that formula, and that basis would be an infrastructure index. The key to this index would be a study of roads, buses rail whatever, any kind of transport facility that exists within a specified area. For example, lets say Auckland’s infrastructure as measured by those factors has a rating of 5 out of ten.
Then one would need to measure the second important factor, and that is population density.
Planners should be able to estimate what level of infrastructure is needed to support a certain density. For example, a density of 100 people per square kilometre may need a minimum infrastructure rating of 3. A greater density, say 1000 people per square kilometre would need an infrastructure rating of 8.
These two primary figures could be combined to give a minimum ratio of density to infrastucture. That could be any figure but the point is that it should not be exceeded, for if population density rises without a corresponding rise in the infrastructure index, then density must be controlled until infrastructure catches up.
For example if the ratio becomes to low, and overcrowding is evident through traffic jams etc, then the growth of high rise buildings should be slowed until the infrastructure rating can be improved.
This is not so hard. Maybe such a program already exists. If not it should. What are the 400 Auckland city planners doing if they can’t come up with a plan this simple, and use it to guide the city’s growth?
Of course the ideal solution is to sack the planners and let the market decide it all, but if we’re going to have 400 of them on the Auckland payroll for year after year then we should have something to show for it.
All they appear to have planned so far is massive infrastructure failure.