He was also inspired by the simple wooden houses of a Utopian project called the Sea Ranch in Northern California.
Tactical Urbanism might sound like some form of guerilla warfare. In reality, It’s just one of the many tools helping to resolve Auckland’s traffic woes.
48 hours, 48 days, 48 weeks – tactical urbanism starts with a temporary street development that is measured, refined and then a semi-permanent change installed to make our streets more pleasant places.
In Auckland, we’re trialling giant oyster hued polka dots strewn along two intersections of Auckland’s Shortland Street. They look like an adult version of the board game Twister. Yet they have already shown to help calm traffic in the CBD’s laneways. The element of fun and surprise grabs drivers’ attention, heightening awareness of cyclists and pedestrians and slowing cars down.
A similar installation is planned for the Federal Street pedestrian zone says Kathryn King, AT’s Auckland Transport, Cycling and Walking Manager who is responsible for many visionary transport initiatives.
Kathryn explains, we’ve traditionally focused more on how fast cars can get from a to b. But having returned home from working in London where she was involved in a number of safety schemes for the environment, she’s been testing various ways of slowing down our city streets to protect vulnerable road users.
“In London, we tried reducing the widths of roads and giving more space to businesses by removing parking and using that space for tables and fun things. We tested intersection changes on a temporary basis which is something particularly North American cities have famously documented.
“New York did amazing things, testing changes to the road layout. That’s certainly something we want to trial in Auckland and see what we can do in our own programmes but also supporting local boards and communities to test and trial different ways to improve journeys for people walking and cycling, getting actively around their neighbourhoods.”
Tied up with tactical urbanism is the concept of Vision Zero, which has, at its starting point, a no death on roads policy. The core principle of this Swedish approach to road safety is that life and health can never be exchanged for a cost benefit scenario. Vision Zero has proven highly successful, halving road deaths in Sweden in 20 years. And it’s taken off in over 50 cities across the US.
“Vision Zero in Auckland is thinking differently about the services we provide. Fundamentally it’s prioritising safety and reduction in harm on our network. If we’re making an investment, we look at how we can minimise the potential for harm given that people make mistakes on the network. If someone makes mistakes we don’t want to see that resulting in death or serious injury.
“It’s taking elements we know that result in death or injury and addressing them. Things like making sure our roads are self-explaining, that people understand the appropriate speed for the road they’re travelling on and reducing risky behaviours like not wearing a seat belt and drug and alcohol related behaviours.”
Auckland Transport’s key role in delivering Vision Zero is building a road environment that encourages safer behaviour and enables people to travel safely – so they can do things that are healthy, active, lower impact on the environment and encourage personal safety.
And the results? “Last year we had no deaths of children travelling to school and no cycling fatalities on our network. [Unfortunately we’ve since had one this year.] For sub-sets of parts of the way people travel, we’ve achieved zero. The target is about there’s no acceptable number of people being killed. We’re aiming to build a network that achieves that.
“Those countries or cities that have been really successful like Sweden, have the best road safety records in the world because they’ve shifted their way of thinking and how they address road risk.”
AT is into the third year of a $200 million investment in protected cycle infrastructure where safety measures are key. A lot of that is concentrated around the city centre and connections to it, given the amount of travel demand there is for the city centre. Overall there will be 50 km of protected cycle network delivered as part of that programme by 2018.
“It’s very significant,” says Kathryn, “much more than we’ve ever made in Auckland before. That’s a big game changer in terms of travel choice we offer for Aucklanders.
“Quite a few projects will open in the coming year. A lot of those improvements are for people walking. There are numerous new crossing facilities, wider footpaths, landscaping and so forth to make walking a more pleasant experience.”
In Mt Albert, for example, AT is helping to upgrade the town centre where pedestrian facilities are being greatly improved. Footpaths are much wider, accommodating trees and seats and landscaping makes it pleasant to walk in with separated cycle ways through the town centre.
The town centre links to cycleways along Mt Albert Road and Carrington Road which take people down to the north-western cycleway along the motorway. On the other side of the town centre, there’s access to a path that takes you in one direction to Mt Roskill to the airport in one direction and in the other toward Waterview and a path being built to New Lynn. The missing link that connects much of that opens in the first week of October.
As part of the walking and safety programme across the Auckland region, there’s a focus on journeys around schools.
“We want to get people out of their cars,” says Kathryn. “We feel strongly that if you provide people with an option that’s pleasant, safe and enjoyable, they’ll jump at that opportunity. Across our transport offering, we’ve seen big increases in people getting out of their cars into public transport.
“With the investment in connecting up the network, people have access to safe connected cycleways, so they’re starting to use them. On the north-western cycleway where we’ve made lots of city connections in the last couple of years, we’ve seen a 44% increase in use.”
Aucklanders are clearly responding to quality choices available to them, confirms Kathryn. As they do so, more and more, we’ll see less cars on the roads, less pollution, fewer accidents.
Thanks to the visionary global ideas promoted by urban planners like Kathryn King, Auckland is rapidly advancing to become the fantastic, more liveable place we need it to be.
Working across a sweeping array of projects, director of design and place at Panuku Development Auckland, Rod Marler stands at the helm of a Titanic portion of Auckland's built future.
Why content marketing is so powerful for real estate agents
17 April 2018
Content marketing is the new marketing.
It generates three times as many leads as other outbound marketing and has conversion rates that are six times higher according to experts.
But what does that mean for real estate agents, how does it compare to traditional marketing behaviour and what needs to change?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that is focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content. Instead of boasting about yourself and your services, a content marketing approach provides truly relevant and useful information to prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.
In real estate, a content marketing approach is a key part of changing your mindset to becoming an attraction agent. Instead of boasting about your past performance, properties you’ve sold and your skills as a negotiator, its about putting yourself into the minds of a potential customer and asking yourself “What do my clients need to know before they sell their home, that will help them feel more informed and confident about that decision?”
Content market places sharing information above shouting self promotional slogans. It can and should change how you advertise yourself, do mail-box drops and drive what you post on social media and the information you put onto your website.
Taking an information-led approach has five other major benefits:
1. Content makes you a subject authority
Why should people hire you as a real estate agent? Not because you’ll sell their property – that’s a given. They hire you because they believe that you have the skills and expertise to get the highest price based on your market knowledge and insights and the experience that will protect them from the scariest elements of selling.
So share that expertise! Sharing reports and insights about property market performance – median prices, recent sales results, rents and yields – is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge. Providing advice on how you’ve helped past clients avoid the pitfalls of selling helps people trust you and positions you as a subject authority.
2. Content creates awareness
Every single week in my suburb, every single agent sticks a DL flyer in my letterbox talking about a property that is either on the market or that they’ve sold (but not with anything useful on it like a price explaining how much it sold for – they just big note their listing).
The awareness I’m left with is “I’m a real estate agent and I sell property”. My response? Big deal – because every single agent does the same thing.
But when you start having a different conversation – about property prices, about past people you’ve helped, about how the market is performing, about ways to reduce stress when selling – you immediately stand out. And the awareness you create is “this agent is different. This agent is here to help me, not sell to me”.
3. Search engines love content
If the only content on your website is property listings, your site will be relegated behind the major portals of realestate.com.au and domain.com.au because those sites have better audience and links, even at a local level.
But start posting unique content about your local area, property prices in your area, the people and events that make the area unique, and the combination of regular new content and content that is different will make you stand out to the search engines without the need to spend considerably on search engine marketing.
4. Content encourages engagement
When people read an article, a property report, or see your latest listings, they often have additional questions. This is great – don’t see it as an annoying imposition.
They want to know more. Helping them learn more, assisting them with their inquiry is to put yourself at their service, and gives you even more opportunities to both engage with them and demonstrate how you are different to other agents in your area.
5. Content improves prospect quality
What would you prefer – pitching to a potential client who knows nothing about you and your service, is dubious and needs you to start from scratch? Or pitching to a potential client who has read a lot of information about you, knows your approach to selling, has researched the market based on the information you’ve provided, and is really just having a personal interview to confirm the decision they want to make – that you’ll be their agent?
When you take a content marketing approach and make your goal to provide helpful and useful information and case studies on past people you have helped, you are in effect ‘warming up’ your leads. We know that buyers and sellers would prefer not to deal with an agent until they absolutely have to.
Taking a content-led approach means potential clients find out a wealth of useful information about you and how you do business that both reassures and assists them that makes picking up the phone and setting the appointment that much easier.
Need help with creating content for your agency? CoreLogic has a range of automated content including reports and video. Contact us.
Article written by Kylie Davis, Head of Content, CoreLogic
Despite the Economist’s vote of confidence for Auckland as the Eighth Most Liveable City in the World for 2017, we who live here know city planners must do better.
Frustration with our infrastructure, traffic and affordability problems are mounting. Unfortunately, lists like this aren’t that helpful. The further word spreads of our attractiveness, the more popular we are, and the worse it gets. Catch 22.
The good news is, we’re not alone. Other great cities face exactly the same challenges.
Last month Jennifer Keesmaat, former chief planner from the city of Toronto breezed into Auckland to address issues that come with being recognised as one of the world’s most liveable cities. Toronto has much to share with Auckland. We both struggle with rapid population growth, urban redevelopment and renewal, traffic problems, housing affordability and community change. But Toronto has advanced much further along the road to overcome many of these issues.
As keynote speaker at the RMLA conference, Jennifer shared some poignant lessons on how Auckland could do the same so the city remains accessible, affordable, and more liveable - not just for tourists and the rich – but everyone.
“There are a tremendous number of similarities in the way we’re changing,” she says.
Just as Auckland is growing, Toronto is increasing by 100,000 annually. Auckland was 9 cities before the super-city - Toronto also amalgamated 7 cities. It now has 250,000 people living downtown. Toronto also suffers from all the constraints that come with this growth yet both cities are committed to using that growth to transform into something better.
Toronto, left, and Auckland, right.
For the past 30 years, just like Auckland, Toronto has sprawled outward. Ten years ago, the Canadian Government brought in a green belt plan to protect its agricultural land. The aim was to drive growth into existing built-up areas. As a result of planning policy, Toronto has attracted huge growth into most urban areas with decline in suburban growth.
In the last fifteen years, Toronto has embraced new kinds of built forms to ensure a smaller environmental footprint and to build a stronger sense of community. The skyline is becoming denser.
“You don’t get growth on a significant scale unless you limit what’s happening on the edges. You can’t grow up and out at the same time.”
Now, 90% of the growth in Toronto is higher density housing rather than single family homes and there’s very little suburban sprawl. Between high density downtown and low-density suburbs – Toronto is bridging the gap with mid-rise density. “All sorts of benefits come with this level of density.”
"It’s about creating critical mass" explains Jennifer.
“You cannot grow up and out and offer a high quality of life. If you add more people and cars, your environmental footprint will only get larger. Your quality of life will decline as the long commute becomes part of everyday life. And it’s expensive to drive everywhere as opposed to cycling and walking.”
Higher density living.
Research has shown that across the city – even in suburban areas – people in Toronto want complete communities. “They want the option to do a whole variety of things within walking distance of home.”
High densities enable a sophisticated network that lets you get anywhere on public transport. Otherwise you can’t get the frequency of service or cost efficiencies to be able to provide that consistent service which makes public transport a true option. By intensifying the city, Toronto is driving growth to the main traffic corridors and to places where they already have infrastructure.
“We want to get those densities to a point where transit (public transport) becomes a viable alternative.”
Catering to young people is also essential. Without them, cities go into decline. “Young people are no longer getting licences by the time they are 16. They want to walk and bike to work. Toronto is changing the city for walking, cycling, and living close to where people work. It’s fabulous from a sustainability perspective but also from a quality of life and affordability perspective because these people don’t need to own a car, pay for parking, insurance, or gas” says Jennifer.
So, this is what Toronto is doing:
1. Transforming the suburbs to become walk-able linear neighbourhoods with new levels of density.
Toronto is urbanising its avenues and wide arterial roads by building mid-rise linear neighbourhoods with walk-able environments and wide cycle paths right up against housing and retail. These walk-able communities all connect to new subway stations.
2. Ditching cars.
Parking requirements are being forgiven because people who live here won’t need cars. You can cycle to work or connect to the city on the city’s broader network of Light Rail.
3. Adding gentle density and new housing types in the suburbs
This gives everyone – all sorts of different people - choices so they can live in the same community at different stages of their lifespan. The new communities mix up community housing and housing for the elderly. Parking has been put underground and all buildings require green roofs.
4. Design precinct plans that create true mixed-use communities with a high quality of life.
In a CBD area by the waterfront, they’ve protected the heritage character, required 20% of all units to be affordable. They’ve mixed up student housing, university uses, housing for the indigenous community, first home buyers and private market housing.
5. Making vertical neighbourhoods a first choice for families.
Parents can drop children off in the day care in the communities then walk 5 minutes to work. Parents no longer must live out in the suburbs to find affordable homes and compromising their families by sitting in a car 45 minutes each way.
6. Creating areas where pedestrians belong and feel comfortable.
Art installations within these pedestrian realms are in the heart of the community, starting at the corner of public transport stations and ending at community centres, schools, and pools etc.
7. Adding private market buildings adjacent to affordable buildings.
In exchange for density, developers must give the Council money to revitalise the existing affordable housing. It’s been a win/win.
8. Investing in the public realm by creating quality spaces for public life.
Orphaned spaces alongside infrastructure like super highways have been reclaimed by turning them into walkways that link neighbourhoods. They’re investing in parks and they’ve bumped up abandoned industrial places with public amenities adding in new office and residential uses. They think about infrastructure in multiple ways, turning it into art. By investing public money they’re attracting private investment and working out ways to create extra hard-working infrastructure – functional facilities that double as artworks.
The hook on which this whole vision hangs is in the public transport network plan. Jennifer asserts intensification and growth in public transport is inseparable. “You have to add the density where you’re putting the transport. Transit (public transport) riders should be able to get anywhere on one transit line, using one transfer. The idea is you can travel anywhere in an L-shape, if you have the right network.
Auckland's transport options need to grow and upgrade with the city.
It’s also about changing the conversation……to transform the city, we need to change our minds. We must think differently. We need to move people not cars. That’s another lesson for the Council’s PR machine. People are talking and listening in all sorts of ways. Toronto has embraced a whole raft of new initiatives to transform the discourse.
Ultimately, says Jennifer, affordability is a choice. Liveability and affordability are fundamentally joined. The risk is that the city gets better in an exclusive, more expensive way. “If we’re truly committed to be an inclusive city, we will choose cities that are affordable and liveable for all.”
Auckland too has that choice.