Source: Auckland Council – Design team appointed for new Auckland civic space

A design team has been appointed to prepare plans for the new civic space to be created on Lower Queen Street once enabling works for the City Rail Link (CRL) tunnels are complete.

The civic space is expected to be completed by 2020 and will total more than 2000 square metres. Community engagement on downtown public spaces highlighted Aucklanders’ enthusiasm for high quality downtown space that can host events, gatherings, and other civic activities.

The design team was chosen for expertise in specific fields to examine what the new space should look like and how it will function, as well as issues like safety and accessibility. The team is made up of:

  • Boffa Miskell Ltd: urban and landscape design and lead consultant
  • Taylor Cullity Lethlean, Melbourne: urban and landscape design
  • Beca: civil, structural and geotechnical engineering and lighting design
  • Traffic Planning Consultants: traffic engineering
  • Calyx Design: crime and injury prevention design and Universal Access
  • Greenscene: arborist

The redeveloped space is a collaboration between Auckland Council and Auckland Transport’s CRL team, working in partnership with the mana whenua, the Waitematā Local Board and neighbouring landowners. It will feature a new laneway connection to Lower Albert Street and a planned bus interchange.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse says “This will be one of Auckland’s premier public spaces, with views of the harbour and up Queen Street and it will be linked to all parts of Auckland by train, bus and ferry making it an easy place to get to and from. I am really excited and looking forward to seeing what it could look like. Concepts include a central artwork or a water feature that references the sea and the Horotiu Stream that flows under Queen Street.”

“The excavation and tunnelling work for the CRL is creating a fantastic opportunity to transform the spaces being dug up.”

A new space approach was trialled during Auckland’s 175th anniversary celebrations earlier this year. See the video: Opening up Lower Queen Street for Pedestrians. A feedback review of this trial event and from an online survey into what Aucklanders want from downtown public spaces is available at Public spaces and laneways.

Approximate timings for the transformation of this part of Auckland’s downtown include:

  • Mid 2016: The bulk of Lower Queen Street, between Customs and Quay Streets, is closed to traffic as excavation work begins. Buses will use new routes.
  • Mid 2016: Demolition begins on the neighbouring Downtown Shopping Centre block.
  • End 2018: New shopping area completed, including laneway linking through to Lower Albert Street.
  • End 2019: New civic space is completed

Pedestrian links will be maintained along Lower Queen Street – between Customs and Quay Streets – throughout the CRL enabling works. Regular information will be provided on progress and to detail what is happening when.

Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.