HLC and Panuku, Auckland’s urban regeneration agency, are facilitating the collaborative and interactive approach to the development of the greenway through a series of workshops and design labs.

The greenway is a network of public spaces that follows the path of the old Awataha Stream, running from Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve (also known as Kākā Reserve) in the west through Greenslade Reserve and the town centre, and down between homes and schools on the eastern side of Lake Road.

The vision for the greenway was for it to become a ‘local learning landscape’ for students, as well as a place for the wider community to share cultural skills, local stories and knowledge about local ecology.

HLC and Panuku felt it was important that the Northcote community be involved in the design and function of the greenway to ensure that it becomes a space they can take ownership of and enjoy for generations.

This approach to development, in which the community plays a leading role in planning and design, will be replicated across all of HLC’s projects as best practice.

The Awataha Greenway is an example of just one project that aims to meet HLC’s strategic objective of facilitating community members’ sense of ownership and pride in the development.

Workshops with the Northcote Greenway Community Reference Group, the Mana Whenua Kaitiaki Project Working Group and the Kaipātiki Local Board generated a wide range of valuable ideas for the greenway.

Everything from ecology and planting to history and identity were covered in the community workshops that were aimed at bringing the true essence of Northcote to the surface.

Students from each of the three schools in the development area - Onepoto Primary, Northcote Intermediate and Northcote College - also took part in Design Lab sessions to have their say on the greenway.

Helen Kerr, from urban design company, Isthmus Group, led the sessions with groups of around 30 students from each school.

“The Design Labs give the students an opportunity to learn about the design process for creating a greenway, and to be part of each step in that process – observing, imagining, creating and refining the possibilities together,” says Helen.

“We’re focusing on how spaces within the greenway might work as places for fun learning, and in turn, we are learning from the students about what’s important and exciting to them.”

The learnings from the community workshops and Design Lab sessions will guide the ongoing development of the greenway.

HLC and Panuku are in the concept design phase for the schools’ edge portion of the greenway.