Our vision over the next three years, which will see both the City Rail Link and International Convention Centre open, is for Auckland’s city centre to be a vibrant, 24/7 international city that is loved by locals and visitors alike.
Summary of our strategic outcomes for 2023-2026
- A place that is loved – people feel positively about the city centre.
- More people – more people day and night, doing more and spending more.
- Vibrant places – welcoming places that foster community, a great place to do business.
- Safe, clean, and accessible – a well-functioning, connected and safe environment.
A one - page overview of our Strategic Plan for 2023 - 2026 is available here.
Our focus for 2023/24
All four strategic outcomes are important and interlinked, and we need to focus on the most significant priorities first.
After seven years of major construction impacts, COVID and the residual impacts of COVID, 2023/24 is an important step towards achieving our vision. It is vital to address barriers to visitation, including safety and accessibility, as we strive to bring more people back and build positive feelings towards the city centre. We have two key goals this year.
A one-page overview of our Annual Plan 2023/24 is available here with a more detailed summary below.
Goal One: Restore the reputation and experience of Queen Street – our Golden Mile
As one of New Zealand’s most famous streets, Queen Street (and its surrounding environs) is home to our region’s civic facilities, significant heritage and commercial buildings, as well as the arts precinct. It will continue to play an important role in the city centre and we want to see negative perceptions overcome. This will be good for the future of Queen Street, and also the wider city centre.
Key initiatives include:
- Safety Programme: We have a significant security presence across the Queen Street valley to our boundary at Mayoral Drive. We will keep focus on StoreWatch and improving CityWatch and the warden network, as well as exploring systems to bring an even more targeted approach to safety. Rapid outreach support is an integral component of the solution needed and we are advocating for more specialist support. We continue to advocate for more police, a downtown police station and higher standards on the street.
- Access: We will continue to seek solutions to improve access, including the need for taxi/rideshare access at night in the area around the arts precinct.
- Building a positive narrative about Queen Street through publicity and Always On content.
- Events and Placemaking: Events are a key attractor for visitation and for ensuring the city centre is a vibrant and exciting place to be. International and local experience is that lively, activated spaces and events attract people, encourage community involvement, and deliver economic benefit.
- We will deliver and promote our own events in this area – Fashion Friday, Artweek in the City and Christmas as well as partner, support and amplify others like the Arts Festival, Diwali and Matariki ki te Manawa.
- Lead and/or collaborate with others on targeted activations and/or placemaking with both a day and night-time focus. This will include lighting opportunities, the Vacant Spaces Initiative, as well as opportunities for street trading.
- Contribute to Council-led plans for key public spaces (Aotea Square & Te Komititanga) and ensure coordinated activation plans for Queen Street and the laneways.
- City Centre Offer: Identify opportunities to influence the city centre offer, as a diverse and valued offer will help build positive perceptions and grow sales. We will also help support positive leasing and investment by publishing our city centre quarterly metrics.
- Night-Time Economy (NTE): This is an opportunity to build positive perceptions of the Queen Street Valley. We will investigate opportunities to strengthen the NTE in the Aotea Quarter including with late-night operators and make vibrant public spaces through placemaking, activations and events.
Goal 2: Bring more people to the city centre
The most significant feedback we received from stakeholders (backed up by our own data) is that the city centre needs more people back and we have made this one of our key goals this year.
Key initiatives include:
- Marketing & Communications: Repositioning campaign developed to rebuild connection, motivation to visit and value for the city centre over the next three years. We will also leverage the range of experiences available here, especially events, arts and culture, nightlife and entertainment to increase visitation. There will be more targeted marketing (through our Always on Digital Programme), which is underpinned by our well-performing channels and ongoing enhancement across our communications and digital channels.
- Events: Seasonal HOTC events to encourage more people: Restaurant Month and Christmas.
- Safety: Continue to work in a coordinated way with NZ Police, Council, the private sector and community organisations to improve safety and address antisocial behaviour. A safe environment is vital and this work will continue to step up to address the current situation.
- Maintain up-to-date performance tracking, including through our quarterly city centre insights.
- A clean city centre: How our city looks in terms of cleanliness, waste management and graffiti has a strong bearing on how people feel about coming here. This is primarily Auckland Council’s responsibility, and our place management work is largely oriented around monitoring the city and raising issues with relevant partners. However, we will fill gaps if necessary.
- Access: We will seek to influence improved access, taking into account the wider strategic aspiration for public place improvement which will change how access in, and around, the city centre takes place. This includes advocacy and/or participation in city centre transformation/transport projects ensuring specific business needs are supported at a more localised level when possible.
Key projects include:
- Transformation and Investment: We will champion the benefit of ongoing investment in the city centre and work to ensure that there are positive outcomes resulting from this. We will:
- Influence the outcomes of City Centre Targeted Rate expenditure and positive planning outcomes, including through participation in the Auckland City Centre Advisory Panel (ACCAP).
- We will advocate for development response programmes to remain in place for the Midtown and CRL projects, including the Targeted Hardship Fund.
- We will also participate in discussions for longer-term regional projects that directly impact the city centre. Key public projects include:
- Future of the Port plan
- Te Ara TukuTuku/Wynyard Point
- Midtown Redevelopment
- Night-Time Economy (NTE): A collaborative approach is needed in order to find common ground and practical solutions that work for the different night-time stakeholders. Work will include building a positive narrative about the city centre’s NTE across our PR, marketing and communications, and engaging with the Council to support the NTE through the city centre masterplan, regulatory controls (e.g. street trading) and transport improvements where relevant.
- Supporting Business: We want business to thrive in the city centre and for it to be a great place to do business. Our role is to ensure that business needs are factored into public projects.
- Member Communications and Engagement: keeping city centre businesses up to date with our work and other city centre developments throughout the year. Sign up here.