Business North March 2021

14 | Bold vision behind Drury development T T Karen Phelps Auranga has been designed to bring people together with a network of walkways, cycleways and pedestrian-friendly streets and open spaces where children can play. DEVELOPMENT MADE Group - Auranga T he developer behind Auranga in Drury, South Auckland, hopes that others will take his idea and use it to replicate human-centred communities established on a sense of belonging. “The aim with Auranga is to create a city that the nation will be proud of. It’s a blueprint for other stakeholders to build future commu- nities around New Zealand,” says director of MADE Group Charles Ma. The driving force behind Auranga, which means ‘a life force that inspires’, is to create a city that enables better ways of living in a rapidly intensifying world. The negative impacts of the modern world have included soaring house prices and peo- ple tied to often unaffordable mortgages. Charles also identifies that suboptimal urbanization has created isolation and lone- liness, unsafe streets, inaccessibility to open spaces, environments dominated by cars, and an absence of community. “The social and personal breakdowns emerging the world over speak of cities that are not life-affirming. “They do not shape who we can become as people living together. Inspiration is at the core of how we are planning Auranga, and because we are inspired to find a better way, we are poised to deliver real change to enable people to live fulfilling lives in the places they call home,” he says. It’s a bold vision and one that is defined by inclusive values and innovative practices, and designed around shared, intuitive, and caring spaces to create more liveable communities. Kindness, wellness and connectedness are qualities at the core of Auranga to help people become whole again, says Charles. He identifies that the much touted afforda - ble housing needed in New Zealand is rather a subset of affordable living and so this is what has been focused on with Auranga. Purpose-built and designed Auranga offers a highly liveable community from the ground up, he says. This means careful planning in recognition that even the smallest things play a role in the bigger picture of building a com- munity with heart. A key driver is to foster a strong sense of belonging. “Community is a word that is often bandied around but for us it recognises that every per- son is precious and deserves to know love. “We want to create a place that foster their ability to reach their true potential,” explains Charles. Auranga has been designed to bring people together with a network of walkways, cycle - ways and pedestrian-friendly streets weaving every part of the community together, and open spaces where children can safely play. “It’s also a factor in creating affordable living as thought has been given to how people can ditch their cars resulting in more time for fun and more money in their pockets.” Auranga, which has been designed so that 75% of residents live within 500 metres (5-6 minutes’ walk) of local shops. “We did the research and most of people’s money each week goes on their mortgage and transportation. “For example a car is a big expense. You have to buy it, maintain it, pay for insurance, have a garage to house it in. If you can elim - inate that need you have a more affordable and enjoyable lifestyle. “An an example we have one resident who lost 20kgs within two months of living here as he loved walking everywhere in Auranga as it was all so accessible.” Auranga will include a village square so peo - ple can congregate together and temporary container hubs, while more permanent build - ings are being constructed, including a café, Vision Hub, which will tell the immersive story of Auranga, and a Celebration Hub in con - junction with Unitec’s School of Architecture a platform of community-based engagement and impact, where people can, for example, hold cultural performances. “It was important to create these things ear- ly in the development because we believe we must first have life to create life,” says Charles. “I’m in the industry of inheritance rather than estates because ultimately cities and communities get passed on from generation to generation. “Many developers build with a short-term vision of value. The idea of ‘subdivide’ result - ing in fragmentation doesn’t sit well with me. Instead we need to create a true sense of community and invest in the long term. “To solve New Zealand’s housing crisis we need leadership and strategic planning rather than decision making that kills communities. I really hope the ethos of Auranga is taken by other stakeholders further than Auranga.” KEY FACTS • Auranga is situated in Karaka Drury, on the water’s edge of Manukau Harbour’s Pahurehure Inlet. It is the major found- ing development in Drury, an area that will eventually house more than 150,000 people. • The Auranga township currently covers 160 hectares with the potential to triple in size. • Auranga’s master planned community will provide for an initial 3,000 dwellings, a village centre, retirement village, jetty, exercise spaces, dog-park, playgrounds, a 5km paved coastal walkway, 5.7ha of pub- lic open space, 1.7ha of neighbourhood reserve, 7ha of esplanade reserve, and 15 ha of regenerated eco islands. • The masterplan provides for a village centre, town centre, community civic centre, primary school, secondary school, football sports park (existing), natural islands recreation, coastal amenities, and commercial and retail precincts. • When complete Auranga will be home to up to 10,000 people.