Bridging the Gap: Neighbourhood Regeneration in South Auckland

Page Header Intro Image
Renewed Streetscape, Wharepapa: Regenerating Papakura.

Auckland is a city divided by economic inequality.1 Prosperity from rapid economic growth is unevenly distributed, resulting in issues of social exclusion and isolation amongst neighbouring communities.

Auckland Council’s Southern Initiative outlines a long-term plan to promote transformational social, economic and physical change in South Auckland, where significant socio-economic deprivation and neighbourhood deterioration is endemic.2 This thesis investigates a systems-based approach to neighbourhood regeneration in the context of South Auckland to catalyse long-term community health for individual neighbourhoods and the wider district.

1. “Growing Prosperity: The Auckland Prosperity Index: Challenges and Opportunities,” in Auckland Economic Insight Series, vol. 5 (Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, 2018), 3,

2. Auckland Council, The Auckland Plan: The World’s Most Liveable City (Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland Council, 2012), 91.

Critical learnings from an analysis of literature around urban and suburban regeneration, and design for social change and community health and wellbeing are distilled into a set of key criteria for healthy communities. These are tested against best practice urban and architectural precedents to confirm their validity. 

Healthy Community Criteria
Six key criteria for community health.

Papakura, South Auckland is identified as a case study site for intervention. Industry is introduced across three historically neglected neighbourhoods as a systems-based solution to the systemic issues of economic inequality. The design process is guided by the criteria for community health, working across scales to connect macro urban thinking with micro everyday concepts of the neighbourhood and the home. At the macro scale, the criteria guide a process of analysis and conceptual neighbourhood planning. Specific architectural interventions act as catalysts to encourage social and economic growth, and the success of interventions is measured against the criteria for community health. 

Wharepapa Neighbourhood Plan 1462Width NORTH ARROW
Wharepapa Neighbourhood Plan: Incorporating the horticultural industry within an existing industrial area while exploring a diverse range of programs.
Tractor Shed Perspectives 798 Width
The Tractor Shed, Wharepapa: Providing employees with safe, secure and supportive workplace environments.
Beazley Neighbourhood Plan 1462Width NORTH ARROW
Beazley Neighbourhood Plan: Linking residents to the food systems while prioritising community spaces with educational and social benefits.
Community Kitchen Perspectives 798 Width
The Community Kitchen, Beazley: Connecting people to others, to their community, to opportunities and to healthy nutrition.
Allport Neighbourhood Plan 1462Width NORTH ARROW
Allport Neighbourhood Plan: Exploring how Papakura’s horticultural industry could be supported by the suburbs.
Corner Store Perspectives 798Width
The Corner Store, Allport: Creating a convenience store experience centred around community health and innovation.
Campus 1462 Width
The Campus, Allport: Providing tertiary-level theoretical, technical and practical horticultural education.
Beazley Perspective 2460 Width
The Row, Beazley: A community space for residents to learn, make, grow and play.

‘Bridging the Gap: Neighbourhood Regeneration in South Auckland’ investigates how design across varied scales, within the context of historically neglected neighbourhoods, can impact the identity and future of a community. It argues that through the connectivity of systemic interventions, neighbourhood regeneration can achieve more comprehensive, positive health outcomes. Regeneration will empower residents, create a sense of belonging, provide access to opportunity and upward mobility, catalysing social change and achieving equity for South Auckland communities. 

Allport Perspective 798 Width
The Gardens, Allport: Reviving a sense of community.