It's got the basic recipe...
In this Porirua...
A basic quarter-hour paradise in action
Here’s how the essential recipe of the quarter-hour paradise – even just with a very basic lens of “just be buildable” – could make life better in Porirua.
Are you local and have better ideas for how this could come to life?
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The beautiful people-bridge to Eastern Porirua, with touchdowns at the station platform and Lyttleton Avenue, has opened the city up for short trips that would previously only have been safe by car.
The streets surrounding the station have three-metre wide footpaths and five-metre wide biking and scooter lanes, the latter heavily used by kids, families, commuters, and the ever-more-popular trike gangs of 60- and 70-somethings. Community-owned scooter- and bike-share trusts have their busy stands right by the station buildings and to east and west of the bridge touchdowns, and community carshare collectives operate for residents and public out of the ground floors of the buildings developed on the former station carpark.
There is plentiful seating and public space on both sides of Lyttelton, with a boardwalk running along Porirua Stream.
There are large native trees and native plantings next to the street, on green roofs, green walls, and up the supports of the people bridge, that attract native birds and insects to and from Bothamley Park, Rangituhi and the western bush.
The largely carfree stretch of Lyttelton Avenue by the station is busy but never congested, as the footpaths, bike and scooter paths comfortably accommodate hundreds of people traversing every hour. Carrying more people and deliveries to and from shops and stores, the buses and iwi-run community transport vehicles (with their special services for mobility pass holders) have a clear run around the waterfront and to and from the station.,
Density done well
On top of the station building is a thriving mixed-use development with the station functions and cafe at platform level and above, two floors of small shops and offices, rehearsal space, childcare and community services, with families and their roof garden in the three floors of apartment living above.
The former New World carpark has become medium density homes, with a street frontage of shops, community gallery, and places to eat. The former station carpark, too, has homes – above the carshare, bikeshare and covered garden that greet you at ground-level.
Homes throughout the neighbourhood come in a wide variety of sizes, from one to six bedrooms, to cater to large and small families. A proportion of all homes are flexible, allowing for short-term increases and decreases in households like for the school holidays. Almost all the homes, and all ground-floor areas, are universally accessible.
The buildings are oriented for the sun and are built using energy-efficient designs, meaning they’re warm, dry, well-ventilated and healthy to live in. Energy bills are around half what people experienced in traditional stand-alone houses. Rooftop gardens and shared lounges, along with mixed tenure and dignified renting arrangements, encourage residents to meet their neighbours and grow a stable community.
Outdoors, the streams and harbour are significantly cleaner and healthier than in 2022.
Roof gardens, stormwater retention tanks and smart water-use services in the apartment buildings mean they generate no runoff. Combined with the street-level green infrastructure and gardens, this has made the regular nuisance flooding a thing of the past – despite the more intense rainfall brought by climate change.
In summer the terraced rain garden alongside the stream is irrigated by buried tanks that capture the treated road runoff.
Access to all you need
Lyttelton Avenue is lined by locally owned shops and services, and overlooked by apartments that are family homes, meaning there are lots of eyes on the street day and night. People of all ages regularly take part in a thriving night economy of local eateries, craft breweries and special markets featuring local performing-arts talent.
The much increased employment in Porirua – combined with the multi-generational housing in the neighbourhood – meant the city has quickly grown a steady heartbeat of people. The city centre’s known as a great place to grow up, and also a great place to be old, thanks to the wide range of things to do within 5 minutes’ safe, stepfree walk from home.
When you want to come to Porirua city or go elsewhere, ten trains an hour depart from Porirua Station at peak, opening up the entire Wellington region for convenient access for everyone. The panic for parking at the railway station is a thing of the past, now that just a quarter of train passengers drive to the station (down from 70 percent in 2022). This is in large part due to the 3,500-odd people now living within 15 minutes’ walk or wheel of the station, and the much richer street network with all the things you need easily accessible by popping in on the way home.
This vision may look comprehensive, but like all the visualisations here, this picture is simply what you get when you apply the most basic quarter-hour paradise recipe to this location.
It’s working much better for people and the taiao, but it’s still a bit beige, it’s unadorned, lacking local flavour or community nuance.
The big missing element: how local people would like to see quarter-hour paradise growing in their neighbourhood.
Let's explore this together!
Over on the Quarter-hour Paradise social media there’s friendly, curious conversation happening.
It’s about how neighbourhoods like Karori can develop their quarter-hour paradise goodness in ways that feel local. In ways that draw out, that build on, that amplify what’s great about the neighbourhood.
It’s a bit of an oasis on social media.
- iI’s a space to bring genuine questions and ideas about what change might mean; about bad and good ways to do intensification, to do street change, and to set up and run our towns.
- There’ll be honest answers, inspiration from our own doorsteps and further afield, and other curious minds from your community – all coming together a spirit of “why not?”, “we got this”, and “yes, and“.
- It’s apolitical (no endorsements or promotions of candidates), and it’s a space for citizen conversation. t