Auckland CBD Dwellers

Auckland’s CBD is different from any other place in Auckland or in New Zealand. It is the most vibrant part of our country, and is truly an international city.  When you think of people who live in apartments in a city centre such as Auckland you might think young, hip, always on their phone, rushing around, business people. Thing are fast paced and just walking down the street is somewhat of a rush. In many ways this is true, but for Auckland’s CBD things are much more diverse.

Our first question is ‘Who is a typical CBD dweller?’ For one, they are most likely to be in the 19-24 age bracket, living alone in rented accommodation that is almost certainly in an apartment block.  A high proportion of CBD residents are young and single, they will not have children, and will live alone or with one other person. They are less likely to own a car and will usually walk to work.  Auckland University is located in the CBD and has a significant effect on demographics.  37% of the CBD’s residents are full time students.

The average CBD dweller is 26 years old, and 60% are aged between 15 and 39. By contrast the very young, the middle aged and elderly are under-represented. In both 2001 and 2006, the University and Constitution Hill had the youngest age profiles in the CBD. In 2006 the Upper Queen Street area also had a younger age profile, as did K Rd. In contrast, the Viaduct Harbour, City Waterfront and Britomart areas had older age profiles in 2006. The gender balance is almost equal. Of significance is the fact that 66% of residents were born overseas, with nearly 47% being Asian ethnicity, and 43% European. Very few Maori and Pacific live in the CBD.

The population of CBD experienced huge growth in the 20 years up to 2006. The last census figures counted 17,937 living in the CBD. Now there are an estimated 25,000.  There were 8,289 dwellings in the CBD, more than double the number in 2001, so this figure, too, has climbed in recent years.  Clearly, it’s an area of expansion and development as people are drawn to the attractions and benefits of living right in amongst it all – restaurant, big business, civic centres, the arts, the university, the parks and downtown – the list goes on.

Interestingly, those living in the CBD are better qualified as a whole, with only 4% saying they had no qualifications. 24% have a tertiary degree. However, with such an important proportion of residents being students, the median income is not even $20,000. The University, Upper Queen Street and Vincent Street areas have higher shares of households (33, 30, and 25% respectively) than the rest of the CBD.  This is not to say that Auckland CBD is just for youth.  Far from it, as the quality apartments in the Viaduct, Britomart and Arena areas would attest to, attracting a wealthier and older demographic.  And as a whole, residents are well educated.  It’s a bright bunch in the city!

Many international students choose Auckland as a destination because of the size and diverse population. The CBD is particularly attractive because of Auckland University, AUT University, many English language schools, and private training establishments.  In the mid 1990’s, the New Zealand government, and many secondary and tertiary institutions undertook a concerted effort to promote New Zealand as a destination for its international students. By 2003 there were about 120,000 international students, a whopping number for a small country like New Zealand. It was also claimed that international education was New Zealand’s fourth largest export earner.

Looking into the future with an increasing CBD population, more residential properties will be encouraged, complemented by a network of parks, squares and plazas stretching from Victoria Park, over the ridge to join other public open spaces in the CBD. The CBD will contain a lively mix of business, education, residential, recreation and cultural activity. Development and urban design will be high quality and sympathetic to the city’s history and natural environment. Open space in the CBD will be protected and enhanced, and streets will be upgraded and maintained to international standards.

Auckland’s CBD is undoubtedly New Zealand’s most exciting place. It offers something for everyone and will only get better with time. CBD apartment lifestyle is certainly desirable and attractive, and as we go into the future it will become a more and more popular way of living.

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