City's Cultural Heart Taking Shape - Auckland City Council Release

Press Release by Auckland City Council. Published in SCOOP 8 February 2010.

With Aotea Square’s makeover due to be completed this year, Q Theatre in development and further upgrades and initiatives imminent, Aotea Quarter, the city’s civic core and cultural heart, is coming into its own.

Located in the Queen Street valley and bounded by Mayoral Drive, Wellesley Street, Lorne Street and Khartoum Place, the Aotea Quarter lies in the centre of the CBD.

The cluster of cultural facilities in the area, combined with its civic function as the centre of local government makes the quarter an important area to develop and revitalise, something Auckland City Council’s 10-year Aotea Quarter action plan is making happen

Already five years in, the plan has seen numerous initiatives realised, including the completion of the Central Library café and the first stage upgrades of both Khartoum Place and Lorne Street. The current developments of the Auckland Art Gallery, Q Theatre and Aotea Square are progressing well, and preliminary work on the second stage of the Lorne Street upgrade has begun.

The council’s Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee has endorsed the action plan for the next five years, following review of the achievements to date and research about possibilities going forward.

Councillor Greg Moyle, chairperson of the committee says, “We have made great progress in the last five years and are keen to keep the momentum going. 

“The council has been working in partnership with local stakeholders who all share the vision of the quarter as the cultural heart of the city, a place where people know they can come to experience quality arts and entertainment, - whether it’s a show at the Comedy Club, international theatre at THE EDGE or street performance in Aotea Square.” 

The existing 13 groups that make up the partnership are committed to continuing working together and new partners have also come onboard.

A placemaking approach to developing and managing the area over the next five years is the key driver of the action plan This has been informed by research and stakeholder engagement and is based on international best practice of the management of cultural precincts.

Placemaking aims to create active, vibrant public places by uniting the needs of community, business and the environment, by weaving together community engagement, urban design, local economic development, and cultural value.

“We have fantastic assets in the Aotea Quarter and we need to make the most of them,” says Cr Moyle.

“A place-based approach to development will ensure the quarter becomes a lively and vibrant place, with scheduled events and activities, improved connections, access, safety and transport, and by supporting existing and developing new cultural destinations and venues”.

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