The fourth interview in a series of personal insights about why Wynyard Central is proving such a popular place to live. This week we spoke to Frith Walker, who is part of the Panuku Development Auckland team responsible for Wynyard Quarter’s transformation from ‘tank farm’ to vibrant waterfront neighbourhood.
How would you describe the transformation that’s taken place in Wynyard Quarter over the last decade?
Wonderful. I’m obsessed with public space and seeing it being used. There was a time when people would pop down to the fish market to buy something for dinner but then hop straight back in their car because there was nothing else around for them in terms of public amenity. Now the area’s become a destination in its own right, because it’s a special place to be.
My job is to make sure there’s always something to keep people interested and involved. It’s not about trying to be the new ‘hot spot’, it’s about creating something authentic.
What’s the key to making urban environments liveable?
It’s about human scale, designing with human experiences in mind. It’s about good walking, cycling and people connections – having enough public space to let human beings exist.
Willis Bond is a thoughtful and conscientious developer; they know the Wynyard Central apartments are playing a part in a whole and aren’t going to build something without considering the impact on the humans in and around it. They want this to be a place where people can make a life for themselves – and lives don’t stop when architects put down their pens.
What will it be like to live at Wynyard Central?
Moving into the inner city brings the opportunity to feel a sense of connectedness, and this area was designed for connectedness in every way – not just in terms of people and transport, but with nature and Auckland’s stunning harbour. You’ll be able take the kids or grandkids outside, let them slide around the playground and have a backyard experience right outside your inner-city apartment. I think there’s a perception that city living can be noisy and hard, but here you’re cared for, in terms of your needs as a human being.