Sister cities Auckland, Guangzhou and Los Angeles joined together for two intense days of learning this week at the Tripartite Economic Summit in Auckland, forging new relationships and creating trade opportunities.
From the outset we look like three pretty disparate cities – LA, all movie stars and highways, Guangzhou, a giant metropolis and little old Auckland, a city of 1.5 million at the bottom of the world.
But dig a little deeper and our commonalities are soon uncovered. Panuku hosted a workshop on waterfront design during this week’s summit, where our common bonds very much came to the fore.
We are all traditional waterfront cities, who for some time have turned our backs to the water’s edge but are now reconnecting. It’s both humbling and eye opening to see how these two world cities are tackling and embracing waterfront regeneration.
The Port of LA has a phenomenal 27km of water’s edge. Balancing public desires and the needs of America’s largest container port is a challenging dynamic. They have recognised that the success of the port and the success of the neighbouring communities are intrinsically linked. Through establishing a ‘Public access investment plan’ 10% of the profit of the port is invested in advancing community initiatives and public access to the port.
For Guangzhou, its history as a strategic trade port to the South China Sea and home to China’s largest trade fair create a location rich in character and history that needs to be balanced and celebrated as development happens at pace.
Common to us all is the undeniable human attraction toward the water’s edge. We are all conscious of celebrating people in our developments, and acknowledging the past in an authentic way.
Later this year we look forward to continue these learnings as Panuku hosts Water Edge. The brightest leaders in waterfront regeneration will meet in Auckland to share knowledge and help us tackle some of the challenges as we work to open up waterfronts across the region to Aucklanders.
For more information on Water Edge, the symposium for waterfront leaders visit www.advancewateredge.com
Image caption: Pearl River, Guangzhou