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Articles by Matthew Gilligan

Matthew Gilligan

Distortion from the AUP

The new Terrace Housing and Apartment Building (THAB) zone allows for the building of some high-density developments to meet Auckland's starved housing supply.

Because of this massive potential density, you can go six-storeys high with no parking, and intensively use the land. This creates an opportunity to increase supply and for the developer to make money.

THAB Town Planning Development controls



Density – Undeveloped Design


Density – Developed Design


Height in Relation to Boundary (HIRB)

3m + 45° or 8m + 60°
2.5m and 45°if next to SH

Height Restriction


Front Yard


Side Yard


Impervious Surface Maximum


Building Coverage Maximum


Living Courts

Balcony 8m2

But there is also potential to get it wrong. I caution Auckland Council and developers to pay attention to design in order to stop what can only be described as a visual abuse of our community and the rapid creation of future ghettoes for Auckland due to our city's new exuberance to create housing supply.

Look at this particular block of units in Manurewa. In my opinion, this is a simply awful development. 

Features include:

  1. Ridiculously small windows
  2. Large blank wall spaces
  3. No garaging
  4. Massive density with a total lack of amenity value in the subdivision

Cheap to build, nasty to live in. Not what I think we should be allowing.

Is this really what Auckland is going to do with new zoning? I am very disappointed. The slightest attention to basic design could have dressed these units to have some character. Even Mt Eden prison has better character than this development. This is just a developer being let loose, seeking yield without any conscience beyond cash flow returns. But the community will have to live with these awful designs for the next 50 years until they fall down.

I have some THAB sites on the go, and the image below is what you can do with a little bit of attention to detail and design. Improving housing supply, increasing density, making a profit, and attractive design are not mutually exclusive.


Matthew Gilligan
Matthew Gilligan
© Gilligan Rowe & Associates LP

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