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Helensville / Parakai Growth Strategy


The Green/Heart Strategy Revisited In our previous development suitability analysis, our attention was brought to the opportunity of developing Auckland as a new polycentric urban region, or urban network.

“Can Auckland develop as a regional system of multiple, compact, interactive satellite centres linked by strategically located transit lines that reduce resource consumption and emissions while preserving an overall land mosaic in which ecological systems can interlink and thrive?” Drawing on the notion of urban metabolism, we attempted to address this question by proposing a simple strategy: Grow Auckland as a variegated regional city that has a self-sufficient supply of resources, minimising dependency on distant regions and in doing so providing local cohesiveness. This could potentially be achieved through developing or containing existing nodes along the peripheral transport infrastructure networks - reprogramming the entire Auckland region according to the most appropriate land use for any given location. We look at landscape as Green Middle – a connecting element operating in the polycentric city region. We have identified the landscape as an inside zone, forming the core of the city region, integrating regional centres. The Green Middle, or what we termed the ‘Green Heart’ (borrowing from the Dutch) supposes a connecting role of landscape to reinforce and redefine the new urban form of the Auckland Regional City. This particular study concentrates on the development of Helensville/Parakai – a key node for growth along the Western Corridor. The study aims to explore innovative development options for Helensville/ Parakai, exemplifying, enriching, and re-interpreting the development strategy worked out in the previous study.


Legend

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Legend Proposed transit corridor railway corridor Proposed transit corridor Motorway/ Statecorridor Highway railway 20m-wide River Buffer Motorway/ State Highway 50m-wide River Buffer 20m-wide River Buffer Productive Exotic Forest Patch 25 Ha+ 50m-wide River Buffer Native Forest PatchExotic 25 Ha+ Productive Forest Patch 25 Ha+ Proposed Productive Argiculture and Horticulture Native Forest Land Patch- 25 Ha+ Proposed Productive Land - Argiculture and Horticulture Revegetated Erosion Prone Land ExistingRevegetated Built Environment Erosion Prone Land Proposed Areas Built for Development Existing Environment Proposed Areas for Development


Helensville / Parakai Background Information The Helensville-Parakai area is located on the southern end of the Kaipara Harbour some 35km from central Auckland and 20km beyond the north-western fringe of metropolitan Auckland. The surrounding area is characteristically rural and includes some localised areas with smaller land blocks and more intensive agriculture.

important location on the regional routes linking with the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours. The hot pools in Parakai were known and used and a few pa sites were established in (present day) Helensville. Traditional fishing and flax harvesting were key economic activities for Maori.

Helensville is the main urban area and service centre for these immediately surrounding rural areas, and Parakai, a smaller largely residential settlement, which evolved around local hot springs resorts, is located some 3km to the west across the Kaipara River and State Highway 16.

Helensville developed as a small port with timber mills (harvesting, milling and exporting Kauri). At the height of the Kauri trade the Kaipara Harbour was the busiest in the country, and the golden age of shipping in Helensville.

The area around Helensville was originally called Te Awaroa, meaning “The long path” or “The long river valley”. The Maori people have had a long association with the land and rivers of the area, with the nucleus of the people who settled the Kaipara Harbour around 1300AD forming the Ngati Whatua tribe. The southern reaches of the Kaipara Harbour was a key portage area and an

By the late 1800’s, the surrounding rural areas had been settled, and Helensville’s functional role increased to include local processing of agricultural products as well as being a busy shipbuilding area with considerable wharfside activity. The town was a key western harbour linking over land to Auckland and also the centre of commerce and administration for the surrounding area. The role was reinforced with the completion of the rail link between

Helensville and Auckland in 1875 and the surface sealing of the regional road in the early 1900s. Geothermal pools were established at Parakai in the early 1900s and a small settlement developed around this resort. In more recent years residential extensions have taken place and a small commercial centre has developed. In the later half of the 20th century Helensville has had a decreasing role as a port and with improved regional road and rail accessibility has developed a local industrial base (a significant proportion of which relates to processing forestry products). Helensville has continued to fulfil a central service function for the surrounding agricultural district. With improved access to Auckland and improved agricultural technology, an increasing agricultural-servicing component has developed in Helensville, and in recent years, industrial decentralisation has seen the development of some local manufacturing and service industries.


Although Helensville has retained an economic and administrative central role over the past few centuries, in more recent years, with the growth of metropolitan Auckland, an added role has been one of accommodating metropolitan commuters. Parakai has remained a small residential area surrounding a handful of hot spring resorts and related activities. The primary service catchment area currently contains some 6,000 people, about 50% of whom are resident in the Helensville and Parakai townships. The current combined population of the Helensville and Parakai townships is approximately 3,800. Given a 3% growth rate, the area’s population will approximate 5,900 by 2026, and based on this growth scenario, by 2051 that population projection is expected to be almost 9,000.

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It is, however, important to recognise that increments in growth are likely to be generated by metropolitan rather than local influences, and also that longer-term growth should allow for the possibility of a population increase greater than now anticipated. There is great potential for growth in the area due to the foreseeable development of green energy from the Kaipara Harbour and the natural gas fired combined cycle power station proposed by Genesis Energy, a renaissance in Helensville’s maritime industry, and resort development/tourism related to the Parakai hot water springs. Any development however, will be centred on one key infrastructure – RAIL. Legend Railway Water Bodies Existing Building Stock Roads Principle Tributary 15m Buffer

LEhillsade Value

High : 254 Low : 0 Cadastral Lines


Legend Railway Water Bodies Existing Building Stock Roads Principle Tributary 15m Buffer 0 1

LEhillsade Value

High : 254 Low : 0 Cadastral Lines

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1:10,000


Geology/Topography The area is divided into two distinctive geological/ lithological units: • T he eastern sector comprises the sedimentary sandstones/mudstones/conglomerates of the Waitemata Series, which give rise to the eastern hills • T he western sector comprises the recent alluvium of the low-lying Kaipara River floodplain and lesser Awaroa Stream floodplain. The gley soils associated with the western higher-lying sector of the floodplain are relatively homogenous and are reasonably fertile (as evidences by local agriculture) and do not present any limitation to mass or dense urban development. The factor that inhibits dense development is rather the hydrology of the river (refer further in the study), which determines that the soils in the active River Zone are wetter, partly saline, and generally infertile. By comparison, the eastern sector’s soils are geotechnically more unstable and erosion-prone by virtue of their physical characteristics. On steeper slopes there is evidence throughout of block slide movement and earthflow. Due to the complexity and high degree of local variation detailed geotechnical assessment would be necessary at a localised scale to determine development suitability. In the eastern sector the major and minor ridges give rise to the visual enclosure of Helensville and give the area a certain landscape identity at the broadest level. There are also more definable localised landscape units within the area, which are visually identifiable as rural or urban.

The need to maintain the Kaipara River Zone as a key hydrological and ecological corridor dictates that this zone will always represent a major barrier to the physical integration of Helensville and Parakai. The floodplains of the Kaipara River, and floodable areas and wetter soils of the River Zone, are thus key considerations in terms of urban structure and form. Notwithstanding the possibility of developing certain areas within the River Zone, such development will be highly visible, and potentially blighting on the riverine landscape. There is no significant natural feature that defines a western/south-western edge to Parakai, and there is potential for sprawled and uncoordinated urban expansion. The topography dictates certain undeveloped areas large enough to accomadate a significant scale of future urban expansion, viz: • T he area to the south of Helensville, which has a finite capacity. • L arge areas of flat land to the west and south-west of Parakai, which have limitless capacity in that they extend far to the south and west. The fact that much of the existing and future urban area is on flat land dictates that the potential for cycle and pedestrian movement modes is high, affording unique focal movement and recreational possibilities


Legend Railway

Vegetation CLASS_NAME COASTAL_WETLANDS INDIGENOUS_FOREST INLAND_WATER INLAND_WETLANDS MANGROVE PLANTED_FOREST SCRUB Water Bodies Existing Building Stock Roads Principle Tributary Cadastral Lines

LEhillsade Value

High : 254 Low : 0

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1:10,000


Vegetation The area has been largely cleared of native vegetation and the remnant areas of native vegetation are almost exclusively found south of Helensville. The Mangakura Stream catchment areas, being 160 ha in extent, comprises native vegetation (regenerating Kanuka and Kauri forest) and is classified as a significant natural heritage area and a priority place for protection. Small localised occurrences are found in the valleys of the eastern hills. Some of these areas show signs of revegetation of native species. Equally important is the retention and protection of wetland areas and mangroves which are spread throughout the floodplain. Helensville/Parakai is, however, characterised as a modified agricultural landscape, and the trees which have been planted as boundaries, windbreaks, and along roads, are visually more prominent. This serves to create a fine-grained sense of enclosure at a localised level, which is particularly valuable and noticeable in the floodplain area. It is especially important to retain, protect and enhance as much existing native vegetation habitats as possible for aesthetic and human comfort reasons (wind, shade, landscape, etc) and also to generally protect the water quality and ecological values of the river. It is equally important to recognise the landscape forming value of planted vegetation in the flat floodplain and wester areas. This is of particular importance with respect to the visual amenity of the built form in the River Zone.


Legend Railway Water Bodies

GRIDCODE 1 Existing Building Stock Roads Principle Tributary 15m Buffer

LEhillsade Value

High : 254 Low : 0 Cadastral Lines

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1:10,000


Hydrology The Kaipara River, which is an internationally significant estuarine environment, has a catchment that extends from Waitakere in the south to the Kaipara Harbour in the north. Two additional local catchments discharge into the Kaipara River in the study area. The river has a low gradient and a broad floodplain and in the active River Zone much of the land is below 4 metres elevation. Frequent flooding occurs across much of this zone and the extent of the 1:100 floodline is shown in the map opposite. The designed flood level is approximately at 2.5 metres elevation and in this sector a significant proportion of land is below this level. The River Zone should be regarded as active and subject to sedimentation, erosion and high channel velocities. As mentioned before, it is subject to flooding and tidal inundation, and parts of the Helensville and Parakai townships flood relatively frequently. It is important to retain the hydrological needs of the river, as well as necessary to protect the already built fabric in this zone. The dynamic nature of the River Zone causes bank erosion and this requires the river to be managed and flood control measures to be maintained. In the immediate future, dense urban development should not occur within the River Zone. However, given that it is in any event necessary to maintain flood control measures to a high standard in the riverbend peninsulas which are developed, the possibility for long-term future development should not be discounted. Any peripheral urban development should be planned so as to optimise the potential for effective stormwater management and silt detention at a local level.


Summary of Constraints The following is a list of constraints to future urban development in the Helensville/Parakai area as mentioned in the Structure Plan: The Kaipara River floodplain is a key regional ecological and hydrological corridor and has limited potential for dense urban development. It will therefore remain as an absolute barrier to the physical integration of the Helensville and Parakai townships. Although the landscape offers opportunities for urban expansion, large areas are not well suited to this purpose e.g. the steeper areas to the east which are not generally geotechnically stable; the active River Zone of the Kaipara River, which is prone to flooding. Even in the largely flood-free area to the west of Parakai, the flat nature of the plain makes township stormwater management difficult. The valued natural landscape and values of the Kaipara River and Harbour, and of the towns (the eastern hills, the streams) can easily be compromised by inappropriate development and the ecological and landscape amenity value of these elements needs to be protected and enhanced. Notwithstanding the above, some of the flat land in the River Zone is suited to the development of extensive land uses, however the fact that any built development will be highly visible (and thus potentially blighting on the riverine landscape) and also will demand continual maintenance of flood protection measures must be considered.

There is no definite urban edge in Parakai and uncoordinated urban expansion can impact severely on the character of the rural perimeter and will also aggravate engineering servicing programmes. Indiscriminate and piecemeal urban development to the north of Parakai can also compromise the potential that this area has for a large multi-purpose resort, based on local geothermal waters. The State Highway 16 through–traffic is disruptive in that the nature of this traffic is incompatible with the local usage of the Commercial Road civic and shopping area. The town centre’s function is potentially threatened by the location of larger-format shops too far outside of this central area. The open space system is not well developed (especially the river edge) and does not function as an integrated network. There is an absence of a singular and overall physical development vision and strategy for the greater urban area.


Points of Difference Helensville’s riverside location and historic character are the obvious points of difference compared to neighbouring centres. The railway is another point of difference comparing Helensville to towns in the eastern area of Rodney. In the short term local improvements around the railway station can support the tourist destination strategy. In the longer term commuting numbers will grow and a medium density work/live zone is proposed in the station vicinity. The townscape has a wealth of charming and historic buildings, as well as a significant amount of archaeological and heritage sites, which are threatened by the absence of a comprehensive and effective heritage conservation policy. The area is, on the other hand, reasonably well positioned to accommodate growth and enhance the performance of the urban area, in that:

• H  elensville has a balanced and diverse urban activity, and not withstanding its small size, the town functions well. This provides an excellent platform for further urban growth. • T he rich, natural and built heritage character and significant and recreation development potential of the area (geothermal resources, urban river frontage, etc) provide a unique set of intrinsic assets which, if developed fully, will dramatically enhance the urban economy, character and performance. • T here is sufficient land for urban expansion in the future, and this includes a variety of residential locality options (ie Helensville’s southern slopes, near the Awaroa Stream, Parakai flats, etc. • R  easonably simple and comfortable options also exist for expanding the town centre and business zones


Growth Strategy The Helensville/Parakai landscape offers rare and exciting opportunities for urban expansion. However, there is limited territory in which Helensville/Parakai can expand, as large areas are not well suited to urban development. If Helensville/Parakai is to develop into a potent, welldefined and dynamic centre, which responds to the changing conditions of its society, there is a pressing need for the strategic definition of where and how to grow. So far, the analysis has revealed several landscapeforming processes hidden within rural and urban Helensville/Parakai:

• The dynamic nature of the Kaipara River Zone • Stormwater management • An increasing population • A decreasing supply of available land • An increasing demand for waterfront living • A longer-term increase in commuting numbers between Helensville and Auckland • A revival of the marine industry

Using the geologics of Urban-Recycling, Urban Metabolism and the Green Heart, how can we activate, unravel and manipulate these steering processes in order to define a strategy that will transform and develop Helensville/Parakai into a resilient landscape?


Legend Helensville Bypass Railway

Vegetation CLASS_NAME COASTAL_WETLANDS INDIGENOUS_FOREST INLAND_WATER INLAND_WETLANDS MANGROVE PLANTED_FOREST SCRUB Water Bodies Existing Building Stock Roads Principle Tributary Cadastral Lines

LEhillsade Value

High : 254 Low : 0

Helensville Bypass A Helensville town centre Bypass between the eastern entrance to Helensville and about the Showgrounds has been promoted since the development of the 1998 Structure Plan. The bypass is essential to the development of Helensville’s pedestrian-oriented, linear town centre. No confirmation as to the location and alignment of such a bypass also represents a partial constraint to the planning of commercial, mixed business and industrial development in the area. New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), formerly Transit NZ, has rejected inclusion of a Helensville Bypass in the programme out to 2051. For the purposes of this study, the preferred location/alignment of a possible town centre bypass as proposed by the 1998 Structure Plan has been incorporated into the strategy.

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1:10,000


Legend Big Box Retail Development Helensville Bypass Railway

Vegetation CLASS_NAME COASTAL_WETLANDS INDIGENOUS_FOREST INLAND_WATER INLAND_WETLANDS MANGROVE PLANTED_FOREST SCRUB Water Bodies Existing Building Stock Roads Principle Tributary Cadastral Lines

LEhillsade Value

High : 254 Low : 0

Big-Box Development With a new bypass in place, the large parcels of rural land between the bypass and Parkhurst Road would provide ample space and an ideal location for the development of a new shopping centre such as Westfield Albany. Located to the left of Parkhurst Road, and beside a major intersection, the area would be easily accessible for commuters. The area also has the advantage of sufficient drainage for stormwater.

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1:10,000


Legend Big Box Retail Development Helensville Bypass Railway

Vegetation CLASS_NAME COASTAL_WETLANDS INDIGENOUS_FOREST INLAND_WATER INLAND_WETLANDS MANGROVE PLANTED_FOREST SCRUB Water Bodies Existing Building Stock Roads Principle Tributary Kaipara River 20m Buffer 15m Buffer Cadastral Lines

LEhillsade Value

Riparian Buffers

High : 254 Low : 0

Providing connectivity through hydrological systems is an under-pinning strategy to provide ecological buffers, erosion protection and linear park systems. Riparian Buffers 20m along each side of the Kaipara River; 15m along principle, named tributaries; and 5-10m along each side of any other intermittent tributaries, have been allowed for as part of the strategy to restore connectivity of native vegetation through waterways.

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1:10,000


Legend Light Industrial Precinct Big Box Retail Development 800m Transport Hub Territory Business Park Mixed Use Development Helensville Bypass Railway

Vegetation CLASS_NAME COASTAL_WETLANDS INDIGENOUS_FOREST INLAND_WATER INLAND_WETLANDS MANGROVE PLANTED_FOREST SCRUB Water Bodies Existing Building Stock Roads Principle Tributary Kaipara River 20m Buffer 15m Buffer Cadastral Lines

LEhillsade Value

RAILWAY STATION

High : 254 Low : 0

Business Park, MUD, Light Industry & Railway Station Zone A thriving local economic centre located adjacent to the bypass will stimulate growth in Helensville/Parakai. The Business Park and MUD area, strategically located with respective water frontage will provide pleasant work/live environments and adjoined to the shopping centre development, will provide for a complete the Commercial Quarter. Light Industry should be contained within the existing Industrial Zone. Easy access to the Helensville Railway Station is a vital component to the future success of the Helensville/ Parakai. Where possible, urban intensification should be focused within 800m of the station, allowing for pedestrians and cyclists to walk or cycle to and from their commute.

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1:10,000


Legend Green Heart Light Industrial Precinct Big Box Retail Development 800m Transport Hub Territory Business Park Mixed Use Development Helensville Bypass Railway

Vegetation CLASS_NAME COASTAL_WETLANDS INDIGENOUS_FOREST INLAND_WATER INLAND_WETLANDS MANGROVE PLANTED_FOREST SCRUB Water Bodies Existing Building Stock Roads Principle Tributary Kaipara River 20m Buffer 15m Buffer Cadastral Lines

LEhillsade Value

High : 254 Low : 0

Green Heart Civic/ Open Space The Green Heart is the key component to the strategy for orienting urban development towards the centre. Ideally, the Green Heart will facilitate the concentration of key activities.

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1:10,000


Legend Green Heart Light Industrial Precinct Big Box Retail Development 800m Transport Hub Territory Med-Low Residential Business Park Mixed Use Development Helensville Bypass Railway

Vegetation CLASS_NAME COASTAL_WETLANDS INDIGENOUS_FOREST INLAND_WATER INLAND_WETLANDS MANGROVE PLANTED_FOREST SCRUB Water Bodies Existing Building Stock Roads Principle Tributary Kaipara River 20m Buffer 15m Buffer Cadastral Lines

LEhillsade Value

High : 254 Low : 0

Medium-Low Density Residential Medium-Low Density Residential area is a response to the location adjacent to a block of existing single storey bungalows and the close proximity to the flood zone. The ideal housing typology for this zone would be detached or semi-detached 2-3-storey terrace units on plots of 600m2. Because of the risk of flooding in this area, houses would be built on piles or plinths. The zone itself is within short walking distance to the Business Park and shopping centre.

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1:10,000


Legend Green Heart Light Industrial Precinct Big Box Retail Development 800m Transport Hub Territory Med-Low Residential Medium Density Residential Business Park Mixed Use Development Helensville Bypass Railway

Vegetation CLASS_NAME COASTAL_WETLANDS INDIGENOUS_FOREST INLAND_WATER INLAND_WETLANDS MANGROVE PLANTED_FOREST SCRUB Water Bodies Existing Building Stock Roads Principle Tributary Kaipara River 20m Buffer 15m Buffer Cadastral Lines

LEhillsade Value

High : 254 Low : 0

Medium Density Residential Smaller lots and terraced 2-3-storey housing.

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1:10,000


Legend Green Heart Light Industrial Precinct Big Box Retail Development 800m Transport Hub Territory Med-Low Residential Medium Density Residential Medium-High Density Residential Business Park Mixed Use Development Helensville Bypass Railway

Vegetation CLASS_NAME COASTAL_WETLANDS INDIGENOUS_FOREST INLAND_WATER INLAND_WETLANDS MANGROVE PLANTED_FOREST SCRUB Water Bodies Existing Building Stock Roads Principle Tributary Kaipara River 20m Buffer 15m Buffer Cadastral Lines

LEhillsade Value

Medium-High Density Residential

High : 254 Low : 0

River frontage here and close proximity to the railway station would be suitable for medium-high density terraced 3-storey residential development.

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1:10,000


Legend Green Heart Light Industrial Precinct Big Box Retail Development 800m Transport Hub Territory Med-Low Residential Medium Density Residential Medium-High Density Residential High Density Residential ii Business Park Mixed Use Development Helensville Bypass Railway

Vegetation CLASS_NAME COASTAL_WETLANDS INDIGENOUS_FOREST INLAND_WATER INLAND_WETLANDS MANGROVE PLANTED_FOREST SCRUB Water Bodies Existing Building Stock Roads Principle Tributary Kaipara River 20m Buffer 15m Buffer Cadastral Lines

LEhillsade Value

High Density Residential i

High : 254 Low : 0

River frontage but close proximity to industrial area would be more suitable for lower end, high density apartment style residential blocks.

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1:10,000


Legend Green Heart Light Industrial Precinct Marina_Precinct Big Box Retail Development 800m Transport Hub Territory Med-Low Residential Medium Density Residential Medium-High Density Residential High Density Residential ii Business Park Mixed Use Development Helensville Bypass Railway

Vegetation CLASS_NAME COASTAL_WETLANDS INDIGENOUS_FOREST INLAND_WATER INLAND_WETLANDS MANGROVE PLANTED_FOREST SCRUB Water Bodies Existing Building Stock Roads Principle Tributary Kaipara River 20m Buffer 15m Buffer Cadastral Lines

LEhillsade Value

Marina Develoment

High : 254 Low : 0

High-end water front residential properties. With a high percentage of water front living this area could potentially be the entertainment precinct – a cultural focal point for Helensville.

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Legend Green Heart Light Industrial Precinct Marina_Precinct Big Box Retail Development 800m Transport Hub Territory Med-Low Residential Medium Density Residential Medium-High Density Residential High Density Residential i High Density Residential ii Business Park Mixed Use Development Helensville Bypass Railway

Vegetation CLASS_NAME COASTAL_WETLANDS INDIGENOUS_FOREST INLAND_WATER INLAND_WETLANDS MANGROVE PLANTED_FOREST SCRUB Water Bodies Existing Building Stock Roads Principle Tributary Kaipara River 20m Buffer 15m Buffer Cadastral Lines

LEhillsade

High Density Residential ii

Value

High : 254 Low : 0

High end, high-density residential apartments with access to all amenities, particularly the Railway Station.

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1:10,000


Connectivity The Kaipara River Zone is identified as an inside zone or the new ‘Green Heart’. This new civic space forms the core of the urban fabric, socially and ecologically connecting and integrating various parts of urban Helensville and Parakai to each other and the greater region.


Composite Plan


/STUDIES

Brisbane / HafenCity / Ijburg


Examples to Learn From... Brisbane, Australia

Hamburg, Germany

Ijburg, Netherlands


Unitec LAND6225 Helensville Growth Strategy