Need for Modern Town Planning
Despite the recency of so much urban development, very little account has been taken of town planning concepts, and the advantages and disadvantages of uncontrolled individual development are evident throughout the region. At Upper Hutt and at Tawa the main road divides the shopping centre which is the resort largely of young married people and their children. The State housing schemes in the Hutt and in the Porirua area, whilst revealing some measure of planning, have never been carried beyond the concept of the individual home. Insufficient attention has been paid to the relationship of home, school, community centre, and work place. None of these townships is without its community facilities – the number of church halls, football clubs, gymnasiums, and sports fields that have been established reveal a considerable wealth of local initiative. Only in Lower Hutt City, however, has any attempt been made to create a civic centre where these and other activities may be grouped.
By 1981 it is estimated that the regional population will have reached a total of 384,000 persons; by the end of the century it may have reached 500,000. The problems with which the region will be faced during the remainder of the century will arise from the dispersed nature of the settlement in contrast to the concentration of the employment opportunities, and the difficulties imposed by topography upon the circulation of traffic within the region. The solution of these difficulties will not be aided by the multiplicity of local bodies.
The daily influx of workers into Wellington City and Lower Hutt – Petone cannot be expected to decrease, and therefore problems of access by road, especially to Wellington, and the circulation of traffic within Wellington City have initiated schemes for the development and improvement of motorways. Some of the inner city congestion can be relieved by the establishment of new industrial locations, already under development in Porirua City and in Tawa borough. The problems associated with the journey to work have underlined both the pressing need for regional planning and the archaic structure of local government, so that schemes have been drawn up for the amalgamation of Wellington City and Tawa borough and the formation of one local body for Titahi Bay – Porirua area (inaugurated October 1962). The loss of population from the central districts of Wellington City has directed attention to the development of high-density housing, which is becoming more attractive as the commuters become aware of the burdensome costs, social as well as financial, imposed by the long journey to work. A larger population in the central areas of the city would provide the basis for an active cultural life. As a centre for cultural activities, Wellington has much to offer.
by Samuel Harvey Franklin, B.COM.GEOG., M.A.(BIRMINGHAM), Senior Lecturer, Geography Department, Victoria University of Wellington.
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