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?


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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