Wynyard Quarter’s waterfront is susceptible to climate impacts including flooding and storm surge. Prior to redevelopment, the area was not publically accessible and was primarily a working zone for marine industries and industrial facilities. An early challenge for the project was addressing concerns from businesses in the area that mixed development could be compatible with their business operations. The Waterfront Plan therefore contains a commitment to maintain authentic waterfront activities. Industry was also concerned that the sustainability standards were too high to secure development partners (this has not been the case, with development contracts in place for the first phase of commercial and residential development).
To date, seven buildings have been designed and are under construction. The energy modelling for these buildings has been integrated into an energy savings model and as of June 2016, the modelling suggests that the buildings will save 4.6GWh per year compared to a business-as-usual building.
Through their design all projects had to report on how they were delivering on a set of ‘Wynyard Central Sustainability Standards’. All projects are fully compliant with these standards. For example, the ASB Bank HQ is a 5 Green Star building with rainwater harvesting, natural ventilation and activity-based working for staff wellbeing.
Panuku has also prepared a Climate Change Adaptation Pathway to outline in more detail how it will plan and adapt for a changing climate. The actions already delivered include raising the promenade by 30cm to respond to sea level rise; design of the Daldy Street storm water network to accommodate future storm events; and raising the levels of transformers to protect them from flooding.
5,000 people are already working in the expanding Quarter. Public spaces such as playgrounds and the waterfront promenade attract 1.18 million visitors a year. Development partners are committed to contributing US$850M to the precinct including US$140m to develop new apartments. Infrastructure changes are encouraging more walking, cycling and public transport use, such as the 2km of walking and cycle route provided by the new Westhaven Promenade. The renovations to Waterfront Auckland have created a social, community space for residents and visitors.
Panuku Development Auckland was set up by Auckland City Council in September 2015 and has been given 20 priority locations across Auckland to rejuvenate through development projects.
Wynyard Quarter has a target of 70% walking, cycling or public transport use, tackling New Zealand’s 100% fossil fuelled transport systems which account for 50% of energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the country. The redevelopment aims for a 48% reduction in GHG emissions from energy consumption and a 79% reduction in GHG emissions from transport.
The renovated waterfront is expected to be a major driver of Auckland's economic future, with the redevelopment contributing US$4.29 billion to Auckland's economy by 2040. The waterfront will sustain 20,000 new full-time jobs and indirectly contribute towards another 20,000 jobs across the region, over the next 30 years. Waterfront employment is also expected to lift labour productivity by 16% as a result of its concentrated productivity.
Projects will adhere to strict environmental sustainability standards with the aim of improving water quality, reducing land contamination, reducing storm-water associated risks and protecting biodiversity. Additionally, the redevelopment aims to ensure strong social infrastructure and housing choices. The development will provide amenities including child care, medical facilities and a community centre. The project hopes to result in the creation of New Zealand’s most liveable central city urban community.