Neighbourhood case study: Hobsonville Point

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  • Auckland
  • medium density, residential and mixed use, mix of housing types including affordable housing, masterplanned development on former Defence land
  • rated a very high sustainability neighbourhood by the Observational Tool and the Resident Self-Report Tool


Key areas of strength

Key areas for improvement

Note: some ratings will improve as the development proceeds

  • Walking access: multiple facilities within easy walking distance.
  • Protection and enhancement of the natural environment: concentration of imperviousness as well as planting and protection of habitat, stream and wetland management (including riparian margins).
  • High standards of energy efficiency, the inclusion of renewable energy sources, effective water efficiency and options for natural ventilation for all rooms.
  • Good passive surveillance of and effective ease of access to footpaths and public spaces, opportunities for casual interaction and high quality streetscapes and public spaces.
  • Street network responds well to natural features, offers reasonable solar access for most dwellings, providing good connectivity and discouraging fast traffic.


  • Access to public transport: frequency of public transport and public transport routes could be improved.
  • Efficient use of space and viability of local centres: more local facilities, such as retail shops and a higher density of dwellings in the immediate vicinity of these.
  • Diversity and resilience: increase the mix of uses in the neighbourhood and immediate environment. For example, providing healthcare, child care or professional (legal or accounting) services,  start-up spaces for artists or commercial enterprises and/or live/work premises.
  •  Increased community building activities such as a toy library or men’s shed as well as communal energy generation or car sharing for example.


Walking and public transport

Travel to work or study compares very favourably with the rest of Auckland, as well as with urban New Zealand.  More Buckley Precinct residents commuted with passengers, took the bus or ferry and cycled to work or study than did across Auckland. When bus and ferry use are combined, public transport use is close to the rate for urban New Zealand (11.4 per cent in Hobsonville as compared to 12.7 per cent for urban New Zealand).

Distance from work or study appears to be encouraging residents to share one vehicle and/or to use public transport or bicycles, despite the limited infrastructure for the latter two.  Design may be playing a key part in these results too, as there are limited opportunities to park a second car in Buckley Precinct.

Amenities and services

Local liveability would be enhanced by more local shops, service providers and more employment opportunities as well as increased public transport frequency and route options that allow for more integrated connectivity with the wider settlement.  This is particularly important due to the location of Hobsonville Point as people do not wish to travel long distances for essential daily life items or to work.  Limited local facilities and employment options leads to higher kilometres travelled as well as in the relatively low proportion of food purchased locally.


Public space

The playground and heritage areas received strong positive feedback. Residents expressed a desire for more outdoor activities which may be related to the high degree of perceived safety residents report in outdoor spaces when cycling and walking, and with regard to allowing children aged under 14 years to play independently outside in the neighbourhood, all of which was higher than comparable data for wider Auckland and urban New Zealand.

Similarly, the perceived quality of neighbouring homes, gardens, streets and parks is higher than similar responses from across urban New   Zealand.


Residents expressed enjoyment of various Hobsonville Land Company activities and their desire for more, especially with regard to developing sporting and fitness activities, holding more neighbourhood gatherings (including street parties), involvement in the residents’ group, and developing groups such as a book club and dog walking.

Even though the local community is relatively new, residents enjoy the people they have met and “the community atmosphere” 98.5% thought that “the local area that you live in is a great place to live” - this is significantly higher than responses to the same question from across Auckland (77 per cent) and to a similar question from across urban New Zealand (76.5 per cent). 

Overall, residents report feeling very contented living in their new neighbourhood and very few have plans to move from their home or the area. This is significantly different to international research on higher density neighbourhoods, which tend to show lower levels of attachment and higher levels of intention to move. This is most commonly related to tenure status, with more rental accommodation often found in higher density neighbourhoods. In Buckley Precinct it is possible that tenure status is contributing to the high reported levels of neighbourhood satisfaction.



Protection of the environment has been well planned with concentration of imperviousness as well as planting and protection of habitat, stream and wetland management.  Residents praised the quality of the physical environment and the experience of living in their new homes and neighbourhood, with 63 per cent reporting that they had personally taken some action to improve the environment in the past year. 

Only 26.2%reported seeing tui or fantails and only 16.9% reported that they used composting facilities so provision of habitat and composting workshops and/or communal composting facilities may be useful to offer.

  • 03-Sep-2014 (Conference paper PRES/44)

    Measuring Neighbourhood Sustainability: A New Zealand Example (PDF 1.8MB)

    Denise Bijoux

    Presentation to the Building a Better New Zealand Conference 2014.  Covers use of Beacon's Neighbourhood Sustainability Framework tools to assess the Buckley Precinct of Hobsonville Point.

  • 29-Aug-2013 (Report NH2013/1)

    Applying the Neighbourhood Sustainability Tools to Hobsonville Point (PDF 823KB)

    Denise Bijoux

    This report provides the results of an application of the Beacon Neighbourhood Sustainability Tools to Buckley Precinct in Hobsonville Point as at July 2013.  This assessment is part of an updating process for the tools and also part of a scheduled assessment of sustainable development by the Hobsonville Land Company. Results show that, despite only being occupied recently, Buckley Precinct is already performing strongly with respect to the design, construction and management of the local built environment. 

Hobsonville park

Hobsonville street


Hobsonville Point used this report in its 2013 Annual Sustainability Report and the results will  inform next steps in the wider development.  Interestingly residents reported:

  • 86% used a local park or playground in the last month
  • 88% used the local café in the last week
  • Nearly 90% visit the farmers’ market monthly
  • 87% say it is safe for children compared to 70%  of Auckland residents
  • 83% say it is safe to walk after dark compared to 56% of Auckland residents

You can watch the full presentation of the Hobsonville Sustainability Report here