Traffic in Towns, the Loss ofg Urban Resilence and the case of Auckland's civic centre


  • Errol Haarhoff University of Auckland
  • Elizabeth Aitken-Rose University of Auckland



There are cogent arguments supporting the idea that resilient urbanism requires successful streets. Successful streets in city centres require a balance between efficient traffic movement and spaces for pedestrians on which urban vitality and economies depend. This balance was fractured in the 1940’s with the growth of car ownership, and traffic solutions prioritising vehicle movement. Responding to these issues in 1963, the Buchanan Report, Traffic in Towns advocated building motorways in towns, but in such a way that these circled what were called ‘environmental areas’. Auckland enthusiastically embraced motorway construction from 1955, and proposals to build a new civic centre at this time were seen as an opportunity to improved traffic flow in the inner city. This included the insertion of a new circular street, Mayoral Drive, cutting across the previous small scale grain of blocks and streets. The success of this street 50 years since its construction is assessed using urban design criteria. The conclusion drawn is that apart from two small areas, Mayoral Drive remains a largely unsuccessful street at the heart of Auckland, with a configuration that remains difficult to remediate from both a private and public investment point of view.


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How to Cite

Haarhoff, E., & Aitken-Rose, E. (2016). Traffic in Towns, the Loss ofg Urban Resilence and the case of Auckland’s civic centre. International Planning History Society Proceedings, 17(3), 261–271.