Port-City Interface: Auckland versus Port of Auckland

Rebecca Carr

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View of port and harbour from Waitemata Rise

The Port of Auckland site on the waterfront of Auckland, New Zealand, is a controversial piece of land at one of Auckland’s most desirable locations. Port of Auckland, Auckland Council, Mana Whanua, businesses, residents and tourists are all invested in, and have strong opinions of, the Port of Auckland site and its use. Many of these opinions are conflicting, causing major debate over the past decade around the location, aesthetics, and access of the waterfront.

The debate around this site is part of a wider global phenomenon, that of waterfront redevelopment, where city authorities are taking back waterfront sites and developing them as public spaces. As port technologies develop, cities are cut off from their ports and the waterfront space they occupy. This is causing territorial conflict and igniting action in many port-cities around the world. Although there are central principles regarding waterfront redevelopment, each case is highly specific to the environment of the locations of the port-cities. For this thesis therefore, the Port of Auckland site, close to the University of Auckland and currently engaged in a stalemate between its operations, public opposition and the local planning rules, has been chosen as the focus.

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Waitemata Rise in Port of Auckland
Rebecca Carr Master Plan
Waitemata Rise master plan

This design proposes a Waitemata Rise, linear public park along the southern edge of the port’s land. Thus it is elevated above the land and existing buildings so the port can continue operations unobstructed. 

Connecting from Queens Wharf to Judges Bay, the park provides expansive views of the port and the Waitemata Harbour.

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View of port and harbour from Rangitoto Park

Larger parks situated above some of the existing buildings respond to the views through landscaping in the form of the contours of surrounding volcanic cones, the most prominent being Rangitoto. The three largest parks also provide buildings, in the style of modern versions of the port’s sheds, for office, retail and dining spaces.

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Rangitoto Park building exterior
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Rangitoto Park building interior
Rebecca Carr Rangitoto
Rangitoto Park landscaping plan