With few roads, new development offers cheaper accommodation in Auckland

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Sunfield – a “car-free” neighborhood two minutes from Papakura station – will reduce the average cost of housing in Auckland by 20% by building fewer roads, developers say.

The 5,000 homes in the Winton development will not have driveways or garages. But residents will be able to take advantage of an electric shuttle service, when they are not walking or cycling.

Following the principle of sustainability that people should not live more than 15 minutes from their daily needs, the neighborhood will also include offices, shops, cafes, parks, a supermarket, a private hospital, two schools and three retirement villages.

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Reducing South Auckland’s development roads to a single loop allows more homes to be built, said Chris Meehan, managing director of Winton. In this way, Sunfield homes will “easily” cost $ 100,000 less than standard Auckland accommodations.

“You save over 20% of the land by not building roads – so you have 20% more land to sell that would otherwise be wasted,” he said. “A good 20 percent of the footprint of an average home is occupied by the garage. So you can comfortably save 20% while having a better product in the end. “

The houses in Sunfield will be connected to each other and to the main road by paths, instead of feeder roads.  (Conceptual designs)

Winton / Supplied

The houses in Sunfield will be linked to each other and to the main road by paths, instead of feeder roads. (Conceptual designs)

Homes will start between $ 600,000 and $ 650,000, Meehan said.

Without needing to drive a car, residents will also save money in the long run, he added.

The development encourages residents to use more environmentally friendly modes of transportation, such as walking, cycling or scooter. The main road – a loop around the area – will have dedicated lanes for bicycles and the Sunbus, the autonomous electric shuttle.

Instead of feeder roads outside of the main loop, Sunfield will have “an abundance of roads”.

With work, leisure and commerce facilities nearby, Sunfield will introduce residents to a new low-carbon lifestyle, Meehan added.

“Obviously there are reasons why you should go and it’s natural and expected. But we think 90 percent of what you’d want is there.

Connectivity will also improve the health and well-being of residents, he said. “You meet people… and people get to know each other. You quickly develop a strong sense of community, which I think is very sorely lacking in many of the typical neighborhoods that are happening. “

Unlike neighboring suburbs, the Sunfield development will have fewer roads, including a main loop.  (<a class=Design concept)” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>

Winton / Supplied

Unlike neighboring suburbs, the Sunfield development will have fewer roads, including a main loop. (Design concept)

Meehan estimated that the neighborhood would see 90% fewer vehicles. This would reduce vehicle emissions by two-thirds, he added.

Based on interest in the neighborhood, he believes many Aucklanders are ready for this new way of life. Companies want to reduce their carbon footprint and be close to their employees.

“People are really fed up with commuting,” he said.

But cars will not be completely absent: visitors will benefit from dedicated parking lots and residents will be able to rent others. Shared electric vehicles will also be available to residents.

To live up to its name, Sunfield will integrate solar panels to supply energy to the community. The electricity would be stored in four large batteries, although the development would still be connected to the grid.

But essentially, Sunfield should generate enough energy to power every business and every home. Residents will purchase solar power from the community pool, which will be much cheaper than the standard grid price, Meehan said.

The Sunfield Loop Route will have dedicated bicycle spaces, as well as a lane for the electric shuttle service.  (Conceptual designs)

Winton / Supplied

The Sunfield loop road will have dedicated areas for cycling, as well as a lane for the electric shuttle service. (Conceptual designs)

The final cost of housing will depend on how quickly development gets the green light, Meehan said. As a large project, Sunfield requires central government approval (under the Urban Development Act) to begin construction. “All they have to give us is a yes.”

If approval is swift, construction could begin early next year, with the first residents moving in before the end of 2022, he added.

Sunfield’s design does not fit into any standard zoning category, so Winton proposes that two new zones be created: a pedestrian residential zone and a pedestrianized commercial zone.

“We hope this will set a precedent for further developments.”

Meehan believes the new neighborhood will be the first to fully embrace the 15-minute urban design principles in Australasia.

There have also been other projects – including apartment buildings – to promote car-free living.

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