Over the last two decades, cities around the world have increasingly appreciated the unique characteristics of the space where their urban land meets the water, and the inherent potential that lies within that space.
This appreciation has brought intense interest in water edge development, not only for the economic benefits it brings, but also the opportunity it presents to reconnect the city and its people with their heritage and culture.
Last week Panuku brought together water edge development leaders from some of the most successful waterfronts around the globe for the three day Water Edge 2016 symposium. The symposium provided an opportunity for these thought leaders to share and engage with like-minded individuals who have each faced varied challenges and employed different solutions to them.
Sixteen international cities were represented, with the breadth of experience among the group highlighted by the likes of Carl Weisbrod, Chairman of the New York Planning Commission, Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg, CEO of HafenCity Hamburg GmbH, Richard Brown, Executive Director of Development and Regeneration Services at Glasgow City Council, and Rita Justesen, Director of Planning & Architecture at CPH City and Port Development Copenhagen.
Expertly led by renowned British urbanist Prof Greg Clark CBE, who is exceptional at invoking lively discussion and debate, the group shared their city’s waterfront redevelopment journeys in the context of four key themes: Living by the water, Using the water, Reconfiguring the water edge, and Resolving dilemmas on the water. The symposium culminated in a workshop session at Onehunga which put the visitors to task to examine how they might overcome some of the complexities and challenges faced in this live Panuku ‘Transform’ project location.
For me, the symposium reaffirmed that Auckland is at home among the world’s leaders in water edge thinking and development. What we’ve achieved in Wynyard Quarter stood out among the quality international developments that were exhibited in terms of the quality of urban design, innovation, sustainability initiatives, place making and community engagement.
Panuku took a leadership role, demonstrating how our history and culture is shaping our waterfronts in unique ways. The essence of our locations, understood by iwi, is being rediscovered and is informing our thinking with respect to design, sustainability, the environment, community and development procurement.
The symposium also served to strengthen the growing network of informed and connected industry leaders. The waterfront stories, experiences and learnings that emerged through the symposium sessions will be a valuable source of information long after the event. As cities reach a new stage of the development cycle, they can look for exemplars in other cities and make contact for advice, ideas and solutions.
I know our guests have returned home with fresh ideas, new approaches and new friends, as have we. We’ll continue to reconnect with them as we face new challenges in our developments.
Director Place Shaping
Panuku Development Auckland