Urban tourism and waterfronts: exploring the case of the Auckland waterfront development
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This dissertation deals with urban tourism and the role of waterfronts. Urban tourism is becoming increasingly acknowledged as an important part of a city’s economy and more urban centres are investing in the creation of a viable tourism industry by encouraging major infrastructure development, such as waterfront precincts. Waterfront areas have always played an important role for urban environments. For example, in the early stages as working ports which acted as hubs for trade and shipping. However, in the latter half of the 20th century there has been a shift from production to consumption on the waterfront. Because of modernization of shipping technologies, many port areas were left abandoned, forcing city councils to search for different usages to mitigate water-front town’s economic decline. The attempt to transform waterfronts from industrial spaces into leisure environments became a popular approach and Baltimore, USA has become an example for other waterfront re-developments worldwide. Much of Auckland’s waterfront has historically been cut-off from public access because of its initial role as a working port and as a hub for the marine industries. However, development plans are seeking to change this by providing a long-term strategy that aims at transforming the city’s waterfront into a world-class tourism destination. This supports Auckland’s focus on becoming an urban tourism destination in its own right rather than a gateway to the rest of New Zealand. The development of a major events portfolio and a significant upgrade of the cruise terminal facilities are seen as important parts to achieve this goal, but also increased public space, better connections to the waterfront and a focus on Auckland’s heritage are prominent themes throughout the plans to transform the area. The involvement of all stakeholders in the planning process for the transformation of the Auckland waterfront is an important priority.