New regional development report

03/05/2012 § Leave a comment

One problem with being a consultant and blogging is that I can’t usually talk about the work currently under way. However, some of it eventually gets released or published. I recently learned that the Kapiti Coast District Council has put our report on low-carbon economic development on their website. I enjoyed the project, and thought we provided some useful advice.

I was just down in Southland, which has some similar issues. Both areas have an interest in balancing growth and the environment, and both desire to have more young adults in the area. Where they are different is that Southland is a remote rural area and there’s a depopulation pressure. The Kapiti Coast, on the other hand, is semi-rural and serving more and more as a bedroom community for Wellington. Better transport links (improved rail and the new proposed road) will only increase that trend.

With both regions, local people are thinking hard about what they want for their areas and trying to keep in mind all these different dimensions — economic, social, cultural, environmental. It’s no easy task. What we tried to contribute with the above-linked report is two things:

  • context — putting what’s happening in the Kapiti Coast in the larger national and international context: what are the major economic trends (such as increasing benefits to agglomeration)?
  • consistency — if you want X, such as a lower carbon emissions, what is the implication for Y and Z, such as land parcel sizes and population?

This is just a snapshot in time — one day I’ll re-read this report and laugh. Still, it’s an attempt at thinking through some wider issues.

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