|Since 2004 Auckland City, New Zealand’s largest municipality, has assumed a more proactive
role in the direction of physical and economic development. While this has been partly prompted
by a renewal of interest in strategic urban design in NZ in general, it has also been the result of
realisation that Auckland should be the locomotive of the national economy. At about the the
same time the government at all levels have reached a consensus that environmentally
sustainable development is an imperative.
Currently Auckland City Council is the principal instigator of several strategic project. They all
have, to a lesser or bigger extent, the key attributes of ‘strategic urban projects’ (SUP):
innovative, transformative, interventionist, demonstrative and, hopefully, influential. They are
also controversial and risky.
The most ambitious project is the Tank Farm project, extending over 20 ha of prime real estate
at the middle section of the city waterfront. Within this overall area - which is actually a joint
venture between the city and the regional council - the City recently purchased just over 3 ha of
brownfield land for about Euro 20 million. The strategic location of the land is obvious, the
developement agenda only emerging.
The projects are expected to be a world-class model of sustainable urban redevelopment and
should point the direction for the future of urbanism and construction industry in NZ. But the
road towards its implementation has already proven to be a bumpy one.
The paper highlights the notions of ‘strategic’, ‘vision’ and ‘context’ and places a special
emphasis on the role of design frameworks and guidelines as the instrument for creating
consensus between levels of government and para-governmental organisation.