Auckland will never sprawl to be the size of Los Angeles

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Sydney urban sprawl

Policy Parrot says:

Len Brown has been stating off and on over the last few months that we – the people of Auckand – don’t want our city Auckland to sprawl and and become like Los Angeles.

His words ‘we don’t want Los Angeles sprawl’.

That has made this parrot laugh hysterically and fall of one’s perch because Auckland will NEVER become a city sprawled like Los Angeles.

Does Len even know how big our little wee city is?

The answer is – very small. A gnats arse if we are frank with ourselves. Comparably to other cities in the world our city is one of the smallest.

Auckland is 580 sq km. It is the 178th largest city in the world by area land mass. Even Adelaide is bigger at 729 sq km.

Sydney – our nearest international comparison – is 1687 sq km and is ranked 25th. Sydney is 3.5 times bigger.  

Melbourne is even bigger still at 2000 sq km and ranked 25th city by size it is 4 times the size of Auckland land mass.

And then there is the infamous Los Angeles at 4320 sq km. Yes it is a beast of a city but it is seven times larger than Auckland.

A city that size would stretch to include from Warkworth to Hamilton and bulge out at the sides to both coasts.

But Los Angeles isn’t even close to being the biggest city in the world with many dwarfing Los Angeles.

The top ten cities by size are:

1. New York (metro) 8600 sq km
2. Tokyo 7000 sq km
3. Chicago 5500 sq km
4. Atlanta 5100 sq km
5. Philadelphia 4660 sq km
6. Boston 4500 sq km
7. Los Angeles 4300 sq km
8. Dallas/Fort Worth 3600 sq km
9. Houston 3350 sq km
10. Detroit 3260 sq km

Paris comes in at number 14 with 2700 sq km is 4.6 times the size of Auckland.

Closer to home Melbourne ranks 25th largest city with Sydney at 34th place.

Even the urban designers dream city – Vancouver is twice the size of Auckland at 1120 sq km.

Auckland’s rate of growth is not huge. The population will double in 27 years, so even if all the population was houses in greenfield subdivisions there is still no chance that Auckland would get even a smidgen the size of LA. In fact it would be barely over half the size of Sydney today and equivalent to Vancouver today.

But mostly it wouldn’t even be a quarter of the size of Los Angeles today and would take nearly 200 years solely as greenfield growth to get to a comparable sized city if that was even possible.

Our entire suburban land mass at 1800sq km (all cities and towns added up) is still smaller than Melbourne.

This scare mongering that Auckland could spread to be the size of Los Angeles or even ‘like’ Los Angeles is the biggest load of bullshit.

Len’s PR team – despite costing millions to run – are about as useless as a one fingered doctor if that is the best they can come up with.

So lets dispel with the comparison to Los Angeles Lenny because LA is not even close to being a rational threat comparison. Auckland will be hard pressed to reach as big as the outer suburbs of Sydney.

With the sprawl threat aside, Len please tell now us why you want to compact one of the worlds smallest cities?

  • Jmac

    Greater Los Angeles, has approx 16 million people. We’re talking around 4x the population of NZ in one city. On current proportions, we’d probably require a NZ population of into the 20’s of millions for that to happen.

    ….Unlikely.

  • Allyson

    Its fair to assume Len knows very little about cities of any size

  • cows4me

    Bloody LA’s highways would cover more area then dorkland, fuck you have to take a packed lunch just to cross one of those fuckers.

  • CheesyEarWax

    Glad about this post. I was in San Diego recently, similar population to Auckland. Yet their density is much lower, and their land is desert not like ours where grass and trees grows happily, their freeways and roads are twice our size. So they would have more reasons to maximise the density and utilising existing infrastructure.

    So I cannot understand why we need to increase our density and not utilising our available luscious beautiful land, isn’t it what living is all about?

  • bourbonjon

    But how would Len ‘rule’ us if he didn’t employ scare tactics? Such machinations work well in LA…

  • bourbonjon

    Oh… and are you sure of that, Cam? If our ‘sage’ friends at Wikipedia are to be believed, Auckland’s land area (including the full ‘Super’ city) is actually 4,894 km2 (1,890 sq miles) in size. Which, when compared to your figures above, would actually make it bigger than LA. That said, I can’t be sure it’s that big… I don’t have a very long tape measure…

    • bourbonjon

      HOW BIG IS AUCKLAND, REALLY? Just found another site that says Auckland is: 5,600 sq km (http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/auckland-region/page-16), not 4,894 km2 as Wikipedia would have use believe… that would make it actually the third largest city in the world, on Mr Oil’s list. Lenny was talking about the size of greater Auckland (ie: the ‘Super’ city) not the central city area, which I’m guessing would be what Mr Oil’s figure refers to. SO… either Mr Oil didn’t check his facts (possible, but unlikely, considering he’s the editor of one of NZs only national newspapers) or he’s brewing up a storm in his teacup. Which is it?

      • philbest

        Use THIS for accurate information.

        http://www.demographia.com/db-worldua.pdf

        Most figures are utterly invalid because they are derived from muncipal boundaries, regardless of whether the city itself extends miles beyond them, or whether there is heaps of empty land inside them. Wikipedia is especially hopeless.

        The Demographia “city size” data is derived from actual grid mapping on Google Earth. Doing it this way, the “New York” actual built up area ends up less dense than LA, because most of the New York actual built up area is so much less dense than most of LA, it even dilutes the contribution of Manhattan’s density.

        Note too from Demographia: Auckland (and LA) are denser than every city in France except Paris, and are around the German city average.

        Akl is also probably the densest “Anglo new world” city of 1 million people by a wide margin. For example, the only city in Canada that is denser is Toronto, pop 5.5 million.

        Most US cities are one half or one third, or even less, the density of Akl or LA. Especially the ones with less than around 12 million people. But low density correlates with low traffic congestion and quicker trip to work times.

        The sooner we expose our LYING “compact city” advocates, the better. LOW density is SUPERIOR. It correlates with higher economic productivity as well as affordable housing and low traffic congestion, when comparing similar types of urban economy. The USA’s low density cities piss all over the UK’s high density ones with similar population. And New York pisses all over London.

  • LesleyNZ

    Now when it is put into this perspective, we the majority of people in Auckland think that sprawl is good thing Len.

    • philbest

      Absolutely, the kind of RESULTS they want for themselves and their families, is ONLY compatible with low density sprawl. Trouble is they have been brainwashed into giving Loony Len a mandate for a whole lot of lovely-sounding ideals and haven’t thought it through, or been told what the facts are.

      Everyone thinks “someone else” is going to live in an apartment and catch trains.

  • Clever Harry

    The entire Auckland Region including islands is 1800 sq km. The urban city of Auckland is 580 sq km. Wilipedia isn’t right.

  • Clever Harry

    Wiki quotes region size not city size.

  • Graeme.A.

    So the Aussie’s and the Asians are buying up our housing stock faster than yuppies buying Heineken’s at the Viaduct on a Friday night……….meanwhile Comrade Brown and his effete councilors aren’t releasing land to be developed due to their political ideologies geared towards compact cities. Len’s ya atypical leftist fucktard who’s more concerned about forcing his ideals on working class Aucklanders than having the commonsense to free up land for decent low cost housing. He don’t give a shit about first home buyers unless he can squeeze us in concrete sardines cans so that someone can pin a badge on his lapel congratulating him on building the world’s most compact city. Dickhead!

  • Brian of Mt Wellington

    That just proves that all Browns facts and figures are just a figment of his wierd imagination. He continually says ‘ It’s what Aucklanders want ‘. Bollocks if you ask me.

  • philbest

    Auckland and LA are approximately the same density and have a similar lack of highway and road lane-miles per capita. They are both among the most congestion-delayed cities in the world, and for the same reason. The congestion delay per hour of driving is 39 minutes in LA and 41 minutes in Auckland. Auckland is probably the most congestion-delayed city in the world of its population level.

    Wellington is probably the worst city in the world of its population level, at 37 minutes.

    On the other hand, low density (half that of Akl and LA) Philadelphia, pop. 6.5 million, is 22 minutes. Ultra low density (one third that of Akl and LA) Indianapolis, pop. 1 million, is 15 minutes.

    We are being lied to barefacedly by the compact city advocates.

  • Whafe

    What amazes me with Lyin Len feeding hte media bullshit constantly is that a good many of us in Auckland will have travelled far more than he has… These wankers in percieved high places just forget how well travelled many Kiwi’s are… We are all very aware of big cities etc etc….
    Should stop talking so much shit…. If Lyin Lens bullshit was tarseal, we would have a 4 lane highway built to KeriKeri already

  • Whanga_Cynic

    LBIAFC

  • bourbonjon

    HOW BIG IS AUCKLAND, REALLY? Just found another site that says Auckland is: 5,600 sq km (http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/auckland-region/page-16), not 4,894 km2 as Wikipedia would have use believe… that would make it actually the third largest city in the world, on Mr Oil’s list. Lenny was talking about the size of greater Auckland (ie: the ‘Super’ city) not the central city area, which I’m guessing would be what Mr Oil’s figure refers to. SO… either Mr Oil didn’t check his facts (possible, but unlikely, considering he’s the editor of one of NZs only national newspapers) or he’s brewing up a storm in his teacup.

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