Busted Again – Lyin’ Len caught out on urban sprawl

Niko Kloeten writes at NBR:

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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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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