Monarch of the glen

Housing New Zealand's Talbot Park project in Glen Innes not only addresses the residential needs of its people, but provides the catalyst for the regeneration of an entire area
An exterior view of this new residential complex apartment, architecture, building, condominium, elevation, facade, home, house, neighbourhood, property, real estate, residential area, siding, suburb, window, white, black
An exterior view of this new residential complex

The same urban design principles that are making the CBD a more enjoyable place to live are being applied to Auckland's suburbs, in some unlikely locations. Sustainability, proximity to public transport links and intelligent use of space combine to make Housing New Zealand's Talbot Park a model of social housing.

The mix of low and medium-rise buildings feature environmentally sustainable designs including solar and self-heating technologies and bear little aesthetic correlation to the stereotype of low socio-economic housing. Public transport links have also often traditionally been overlooked in the creation of state housing developments, however this urban design box is also ticked at Talbot Park.

"Better design brings better performance. This attention to detail creates a sense of community and civic pride and is also, therefore, political viagra," says Ludo Campbell-Reid.


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A view of this block of retail premises

"The development provides a further example of the council working with a landowner to unlock the potential of the land," he says.

"Key to the project was the division of public and private land, and the positioning of the buildings to overlook a reserve that had previously been concealed behind the housing development."

This is a viewpoint endorsed by Penny Pirrit, Auckland City's Group Manager for City Planning.

An exterior view of this new residential complex apartment, architecture, building, condominium, elevation, facade, home, house, neighbourhood, property, real estate, residential area, siding, suburb, window, white, black
An exterior view of this new residential complex

"In creating a high-density housing solution oriented towards open land, Housing New Zealand's approach to Talbot Park satisfies a range of urban design criteria. It is also indicative of the council's desire to work with agencies to find creative, functional housing solutions."

The benefits of constructive urban design stretch further than the outer borders of this one development. Property Council of New Zealand Chief Executive Connal Townsend points to the arrival of Nosh, "the best deli in Auckland," that now attracts residents from wealthier neighbouring suburbs into Glen Innes as an example of how an area can be softened by urban design. Nevertheless this style of development should just represent the first step in lifting areas such as Glen Innes and Panmure, he suggests.

"This will eventually be achieved through a spider's web of transport nodes, where mini-cities will be created in the outer suburbs, based on the same principles as the CBD." This, it seems, is just the beginning of the story of Auckland's urban design.

Apr 06, 2007
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