Visualising the Auckland Unitary Plan: IHP Recommended Version

Given there appears to be a lot of misinformation being spread about the Unitary Plan, I OIA’d the Independent Hearings Panel (IHP) recommended version of the Unitary Plan (aka the “RUP“).  This follows on from Stephen Davis doing an OIA for the previous version the Council proposed back in 2013 (the “PAUP”).

The purpose of this post is really to collate a bunch of stuff I have been throwing up on twitter so there is a record of it.  Also check out Aaron Schiff’s very cool analysis of the overlays in the Unitary Plan (heritage, volcanic view shafts etc…) and the Herald Insights visualization of the residential zones, which overlaps a lot with I have here.  (Update: The Spinoff have a some amazing maps here).

All of the maps that appear below can be accessed directly here.

How the single house zone changed

The first thing I looked at was how the Single House Zone changed between the 2013 PAUP and the 2016 RUP.  I initially created separate static maps, but at Aaron Schiff’s suggestion I turned it into an animated GIFSHZ change 2000ms

This demonstrates how much of the Single House has been removed, it’s astonishing really!  Though note it still has a stranglehold around the CBD.  Those areas with the best amenity the CBD, and thus which would be most valuable if intensified, are being frozen in time.

I also made an interactive map combing the two sets of data, with RUP in solid red and the PAUP set to be transparent.

Direct link to map

High-rises everywhere?

The big fear around the unitary plan is that we are going to get high-rise apartments in the middle of leafy suburbs.  The sentiment is nicely capture by this tweet:

I’m not sure what the average person would consider “high-rise”.  The famous “Painted Ladies” in San Francisco look to be 3.5 storeys and I don’t think most people would consider them high-rise (see below).

With this in mind, I did a map of the areas allowing residential development greater than (>) 3 storeys.

Direct link to map

As you can see this is concentrated around public transport (PT) trunk lines and employment centres. The burbs are relatively unscathed, except the parts within walking distance of PT or jobs.

Where is Auckland Staying flat?

The flip side of the previous question is where will Auckland “stay flat”.  I’ve looked at this two ways:

  • “Flat” = up to three storeys (i.e. the reverse of the previous high-rise map) ;and
  • “Real flat” = up to two storeys

Flat (up to 3 Storeys)

Direct link to map

Real flat (up to 2 Storeys)

Direct link to map


Either way you define it,  residential Auckland is actually staying pretty flat, at least based upon a very unscientific eyeballing of the maps.

One map to rule them all

And the last map I did is probably the first map I should have done.  This map contains all the zones allowing residential development and allows you to turn certain zones on or off under “Visible Layers”, allowing replication of any of the maps above.  Note that because I am using a free version of Carto, I had to lump city/town/metro/local center into one layer.

Direct link to map

The Single House Zone: PAUP 2013

The Independent Hearings Panel (IHP) has released its recommendations on the Auckland Unitary Plan. One of the ways the IHP is proposing to increase density is to reduce the Single House Zone (SHZ) by 22%. The SHZ is areas with relatively large sections that you are only allowed one house on.  So these areas are effectively frozen in time, no growth will can happen and they will remain villages of sorts.

To get a feel for how the SHZ effects Auckland, and therefore what reducing it might do, I’ve pulled together a map of the SHZ, as proposed by Auckland Council back in September 2013 (what is known as the “Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan” or PUAP).  I.e. the IHP is proposing to reduce what is shown in this map substantially. But the data that would allow me to draw that map hasn’t been released yet.  (You can view the maps with all the zones online here.)



Looking at this, it’s striking that the CBD is encircled by the SHZ.  So the land it is closest to where people work, and therefore would benefit the most from increased density, is precisely the land that can’t be unlocked for increased density.