Long Bay neighbourhood development  

Name of case study

Long Bay neighbourhood development

Location

  • Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
  • Aotearoa New Zealand

Year

Construction 2012 – 2022

Scale

Suburb/neighbourhood scale

Area / size

 162 ha and includes a village centre, 2500 houses and 28 ha of parks and areas given over to heritage protection.

NbS employed

Pervious or permeable surfaces/unsealing/depaving/porous paving reduce compaction

Type of NbS

 Hybrid living/engineered interventions

Initiator

Todd Property Group

Funder

Todd Property Group

Budget

Translate to $NZ

Design group

Boffa Miskell/Woods (Street and water sensitive design), Construkt/Surface Design (Masterplanning) and Woods (Civil Engineering)

Figure 1: Wetland in the Long Bay neighburhod development. Photo: Boffa Miskell.
Figure 2: Garden streets. Photo: Auckland Design Manual.
Climate change benefits
  • Biomass cover loss
  • Changes in rainfall
  • Coastal inundation
  • Increased temperatures
  • Sea level rise
  • Storm surge 
  • Urban heat island effect

This case study is an example of how design can totally integrate permeable surfaces into large scale urban developments. By considering water-sensitive design from the outset, this design has built-in, nature based solutions to future storm surge, changes in rainfall and the urban heat island effect. It is an example of how we can enact urban design in the future, and can serve as a model for how we can improve our current urban fabric and infrastructure. 

We know that impermeable surfaces contribute to exacerbating extreme heat in our cities, creating the urban heat island effect. Green space, tree canopy and permeable surfaces offer significant passive ecosystem services. Greenspace as small as 0.24ha can reduce temperatures in densely urbanised areas by up to 6.9°C compared to an urbanised space without green cover (Golubiewski & Joynt, 2019).

Societal / socio-cultural benefits
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Disaster risk reduction

Cyclone Gabrielle showed how Auckland’s water infrastructure and impervious surfaces manage an extreme, unprecedented weather event. For smaller, developing, Oceanic nations, Auckland can serve as an example of how unchecked urban sprawl creates problems. The Long Bay neighbhourhood development is an example of how we can design differently, better than before. 

More often than not, it is vulnerable communities who are affected by climate change and natural disasters, and have the most limited resources to deal with their effects. Where communities have

limited adaptive capacity, embedding community neighbourhood scale adaptation through increasing green infrastructure could significantly reduce vulnerability to extreme events (Golubiewski & Joynt, 2019).

Ecological benefits
  • Aesthetic value
  • Climate regulation
  • Disturbance prevention (storm damage, flooding)

The inclusion and prioritisation of green spaces and green infrastructure in the Long Bay neighbourhood development is undeniably hugely aesthetically valuable. Garden streets and wetlands create spaces for community interaction, for connection to nature and places for recreation. The green spaces create a resilient, healthy community that residents can be proud of.

Figure 4&5: Wetlands and pathways in the Long Bay neighbourhood development. Photo: Boffa Miskell.

Summary of case study

The Long Bay neighbourhood development is a great example of how urban planning and design can incorporate water-sensitive design and blue-green infrastructure right from concept stage. The design gives equal importance to development of both the built and natural environments.

The Long Bay neighbourhood is 162 hectares with 2500 houses, 28 hectares of parks and heritage spaces and a village centre that is being developed in the Long Bay Regional Park. Long Bay is one of the northernmost suburbs of Auckland’s North Shore, with the coastline running the entire eastern edge. A creek runs through the middle and a stream creates a boundary between the new neighbourhood and the existing suburbs in Torbay.

This development is especially interesting in the context of nature based solutions to stormwater management, because its land use planning and catchment planning are being developed at the same time. All streets within the new neighbourhood incorporate water-sensitive design, with a focus on permeable surfaces as well as the implementation of additional strategies like rain gardens, ‘garden streets’ and wetland remediation. 

Permeable surfaces are a key, integrated part of this project’s design – the natural and built environments are being designed and built together, to help each other. Key urban design elements are:

  • Wetland restoration and engineered wetlands: for stormwater management and as spaces of recreation.
  • ‘Garden streets’: shared, low traffic spaces lined with trees, pedestrian walkways, cycle ways and permeable spaces (Auckland Design Manual, 2024).
  • Blending planting in front yards with on-street landscaping: connecting public and private space. 
  • Rain gardens: designed to hold the stormwater primarily from the private driveways. The rain gardens remove pollutants and allow the water to naturally filter into the ground, adding to groundwater recharge

This project shows how water sensitive design can make neighbourhoods more resilient, and how those design strategies genuinely contribute to livability, connectivity and sustainability. Designing in this manner, giving equal importance to the built and natural environment is a clear way forward as our cities experience increased storm events.

Read More
Garden streets. Photo: Auckland Design Manual.
Garden streets. Photo: Auckland Design Manual.
Figure 8: Masterplan by Construkt Architects. Photo: https://construkt.nz/projects/long-bay-masterplan
Figure 9: Masterplan by Construkt Architects. Photo: https://construkt.nz/projects/long-bay-masterplan 

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