Busted Again – Lyin’ Len caught out on urban sprawl

Niko Kloeten writes at NBR:

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Auckland Mayor Len Brown’s fear of Auckland sprawling “like Los Angeles” is unfounded, pictures of the city’s growth over the past 30 years suggest. 

A timelapse image of Auckland produced by Google shows New Zealand’s biggest city barely grew out at all between 1984 and 2012 (see pictures), despite its population increasing from 850,000 to more than 1.3 million during that time.

This is in stark contrast to many cities elsewhere, including the US where the likes of Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta have expanded rapidly.

And critics say this footage undermines mayor Brown’s claim that Auckland is a sprawling city that needs to be contained.

According to the Demographia World Urban areas survey, Auckland (544sq km) is only the 205th largest city in the world by land area, tied with cities including Warsaw, Poland (1.7 million people) and Huntsville, Alabama (291,000). See the table on page 16 of this Demographia report for more.

Charlotte, North Carolina has the same population as Auckland (1.3 million) but covers more than 1900sq km and has less than a third of Auckland’s population density (700 people/sq km versus 2400).

Auckland is also much smaller than similar-sized Australian cities Adelaide (1.1 million people, 852sq km), Perth (1.65 million, 1566sq km) and Brisbane (1.9 million, 1972sq km).

Libertarian blogger Peter Cresswell, author of the Not PC blog, says Auckland sprawl is a myth peddled by planners and politicians.

“The only uncontrolled sprawl is in their heads.  Auckland’s “sprawl” has been contained, constrained, ring-fenced and ringbarked—and the dreams of would-be first-home buyers with it.

“What Aucklanders need is not to be told by planners where and how they live—either in high densities or in quarter-acre sprawl or in small hamlets or country houses miles from the city centre.

“What they need in their housing is choice – the ability to choose where and how they live based on their own values, their own desires, and the often limited ability of their bank accounts. What they don’t need is to be told by planners, who are just out of school, that their choices are illegal.”


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  • GregM

    The whole thing boils down to money. The apartment building I’m in takes up about 400 sq m of land, and is paying around $65,000 in rates per year. My renter on the north shore is on 570 sq m of land, rates $2700.

    More apartments means more money to pay for his dickhead ideas.

    • A++random++reader

      More apartments means more demand for Council services.

      Do you think those services will be magically be provided for free?

      • GregM

        Like what? We pay $8400 p.a. for private rubbish collection, $21,000p.a. to watercare. What else is council supposed to provide?

  • Phill

    The greater Los Angeles area holds 18 million people. Any comparison of Auckland with Los Angeles is just ridiculous. Also, The city of LA (CBD) is about 3.5 million people and founded in 1781, so they have 100 years head start on Auckland.
    Wipe your mouth Lenny, your talking shit again.

    • Whafe

      Agree, if Lyin Len had even been in LA ever, which am sure he has, he is an even bigger cock for even saying Auckland is sprawling like LA….
      Lyin Len Brown IAFC

      • le sphincter

        Its al;ll very well to ‘choose’ cities that have municipal boundaries that dont include the whole urban area.

        The very reason Auckland hasnt ‘sprawled’ in the last 20 years has been the ‘urban boundary’

        You cant be against something one month and for it the next month.

        Aucklands sprawl problems are worsened by the narrow land areas that are available, two harbours, two oceans. No way to compare to cities on a plain like Austin Texas

  • ratesarerevolting

    LBIAFC !

    • Whanga_Cynic

      Missed you – welcome back