World leading urban placemaking expert impressed by Eke Panuku vision

20 March 2024

  • Wynyard Quarter
  • News

Salvador Rueda visits Auckland.

International urban placemaking expert Salvador Rueda - most famous for inventing Barcelona's Superblocks – visited Auckland last week.

Wynyard Quarter Salvador Rueda Walkabout 2951

“Salvador was impressed by the vision for Te Ara Tukutuku and was adamant we needed to consider affordable housing and community use..."

Principal Landscape Architect, Public Realm, Eke Panuku
Bridget Law

Cities around the world are taking inspiration from Salvador’s ‘Superblock’ concept, which is about creating shared, mixed-use public spaces to transform city life. He recommends taking street space traditionally devoted solely to motor vehicles and opening it up for multiple uses such as walking, cycling, green spaces, and markets by managing vehicle access.

Eke Panuku, the council’s urban regeneration arm, and in their role as lead agency for the city centre transformation, took the opportunity to show Salvador the ambitions for the city centre.

Daniel Chapman, City Centre Design Integration Lead for Eke Panuku, says: “Salvador was excited by the redevelopment plans for the Downtown West area. He thought reprioritising it from a space dominated by the (lower Hobson) flyover to a place where people can better connect with the waterfront was a ‘no-brainer’.”

Bridget Law, Principal Landscape Architect, Public Realm at Eke Panuku, then took Salvador to Wynyard Quarter where they reviewed plans for the Te Ara Tukutuku project on the Wynyard Point headland, the former Tank Farm. Previously not accessible by the public, the plan to reconnect people to the waterfront will be one of the most important regeneration projects in the city over the next 10-20 years.

Marco Amati (Professor at RMIT), Salvador Rueda, Lucy Tukua (Mott Macdonald), Scott Greenhalgh (Landlab), Matthew Hinton (Mott Macdonald), Julie Crabb (Eke Panuku), Bridget Law (Eke Panuku)

Bridget says: “Salvador was impressed by the vision for Te Ara Tukutuku and was adamant we needed to consider affordable housing and community use, such as a library, to the development plans, to ensure a vibrant neighbourhood was established.”

Hosted by Waka Kotahi / Auckland Transport, Salvador was the keynote speaker at an Auckland Council ‘Auckland Conversations’ event and the Urban Design Forum and presented at Sustainable Coastlines and Flow Transportation. While in Auckland he also met with a number of politicians, local board members, and those in the property industry to consider how his Superblock approach might be applied in a supercity like Auckland.

 

What are Superblocks?

Superblocks – a concept of urban traffic planning intended to calm traffic in residential neighbourhoods – first originated from Barcelona, which was once one of the noisiest, most polluted, and trafficked cities in Europe. To create a superblock, several conventional city blocks are grouped together to create a unified and pedestrian – friendly area. They aim to enhance liveability by minimizing traffic, providing green spaces, and fostering a sense of community. 

Cities around the world are taking inspiration from Barcelona’s ‘Superblock’ concept.

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