Ngā Pokapū Tāone e Momoho ana Thriving Town Centres

As Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland’s urban regeneration agency, our focus is on strengthening and growing communities around thriving town centres.

To explain our approach, we’ve created the Thriving Town Centres guidance, which defines our core principles and critical success factors.

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The guidance provided describes our strategic urban regeneration approach and how we support climate action, low-carbon lifestyles and Māori outcomes, as well as facilitating new kāinga (homes) with better transport choices and enabling economic opportunities.

Creating town centres that thrive

With our Thriving Town Centres guidance, we’re giving you a full tour of our process. The document has been created to:

  • capture how collaboration is key to the process, showing how we work with various people and organisations
  • combine a wealth of urban regeneration experience with a diversity of views and aspirations, market realities and best practice (indigenous, local and international)
  • be both flexible (aspirations and needs of different communities, partners and stakeholders) and practical (getting the job done alongside market and resource constraints / conditions)
  • be consistent with council and government planning and policy settings.

Thriving Town Centre Podcast

We talk about Thriving Town Centres with Duncan Ecob – Head of Design and Naomi Craymer – Principal Strategic Advisor.

Thriving Town Centres Pie Chart


Principles are the strategic outcomes that will enable town centres to thrive. Criteria are used to identify the main attributes that will help achieve success under each of the principles.

It is anticipated that some criteria will be more relevant than others, depending on the unique characteristics of each town centre and its location and history.

The combined principles and criteria will guide Eke Panuku urban regeneration programmes, and will be used:

  • as a communication and advocacy tool for stakeholders & partners
  • as a guide and reference document for staff
  • to articulate agreed minimum standards
  • as a reference for masterplanning & urban design review
  • as a framework for town centre monitoring
  • to apply in the planning for any new location programmes
  • to apply to any programme-level substantial reviews.
Thriving Toen Ceremnoy

Why town centres?

We envision a Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland built from thriving town centres – Auckland is a city of strong neighbourhoods with town centres that capture hearts and energise lives, unlocking potential and possibilities, where people can thrive.

Over the next 30 years, around 62% of development in Auckland is anticipated to be within the existing urban area, with an additional 32% of development in future urban areas. This growth needs support that thriving town centres can offer, such as encouraging business growth, providing quality infrastructure systems that enable more housing choice, and maximising economies of scale in infrastructure investment through higher-density employment and housing clusters.

Thriving Town Maori Performance


We have undertaken a comprehensive engagement process to help develop the guidance. The generous sharing of information and ideas from these different groups has helped to ensure that the guidance benefits from diverse perspectives, values and experience.

We have engaged with our mana whenua forum, local boards, Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland Council), Auckland Transport, Auckland Unlimited, Watercare, the Independent Māori Statutory Board, and Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities. We have also involved key stakeholders across urban design, the development sector, business improvement districts (BIDS), youth, disability and social services, and community housing sectors, alongside the whole Eke Panuku organisation.

Thriving Towns Render

Toolbox – a list of the nine approaches that underpin successful regeneration

Town centre regeneration is a complex undertaking, one that involves the successful collaboration of many different people and organisations towards a shared vision.

Eke Panuku takes an active role in bringing people together, facilitating and delivering that vision.

We are collaborators, creators, curators and caretakers and, for the most part, Aucklanders ourselves.

Through our hard mahi and experience, we have identified the following critical success factors of urban regeneration.

How we deliver successful town centres:

  • Aspirational shared vision
  • Pragmatic investment strategy
  • Feasible development opportunities
  • High-quality sustainable design and development
  • Great quality development partners
  • Community support and participation
  • Council and partners working together
  • Co-ordinated planning, property and infrastructure
  • Effective place-based monitoring

Read the full guidance