In 2011 Waitemata Local Board Chair, Shale Chambers initiated via a Notice of Motion (item 11.1) an audit of “hidden” public spaces in the City Centre and requested these spaces be appropriately publicised. As he noted at the time:

“Whilst most Aucklanders are familiar with public spaces in parks, reserves, beaches, roads and ‘city squares’, the CBD, now the City Centre, has seen the creation of a new kind of public space over the past ten years. 

From the late 1990s the central area District Plan provided for a new type of public space that came about by way of a ‘bonus floor space’ given to property owners who were able to comply with certain criteria. In order to receive additional floor space in inner-city commercial and residential developments the District Plan permitted an agreement to be reached between property owners and Council for ‘public space’ to be set aside inside or alongside developments for the public to enjoy.

This is seen as a ‘win win’ where the developers get a bigger development and the public receive access to public space in places they would have not otherwise have had access to. This initiative followed practise in other cities and attached is a photo of a Public space in New York taken a few years ago, with a clear sign informing pedestrians that this was ‘public’ not ‘private space’. 

When Auckland took up more modern urban design ideas from overseas, what Auckland failed uniformly to do was to insert into the agreement a requirement for the developers to tell the public about the open space that had been negotiated on their behalf by the Council.

Thus this notice of motion is intended to rectify this by making transparent all public space in City Centre of Waitemata Local board area that has been negotiated by way of bonus floor space.”

As recently reported Shale’s work continues to ensure compliance is monitored,  signage followed up on and to raise public awareness about the through-site links that can make traversing the city centre more enjoyable and quicker.