SunLive         

There was a startling new discussion document released this week that had me and the cat scratching our heads a wee bit.

Actually the cat was scratching his head because that’s just what he does and he doesn’t need a reason for doing anything. I was tugging a strand because of the Policy Statement on Urban Development.

This was fittingly released by the minister for urban development Phil Twyford – who knew we had one  of those?

He is urging councils in cities like Tauranga to “Take a long-term strategic approach” to city planning.

Well flay me with a feather – I always assumed that’s what councils did anyway.

Apparently councils have been giving in too easily to the demands of their constituents and Phil thinks they need their mojo back.

The statement suggests that there should be taller buildings in the middle of cities and intensive housing areas near transport hubs.

Now if Phil had just Googled ‘big cities of the world’ and clicked on images, he could have saved himself a shed load of time.

He is basically describing just about every city in the world.

Granted, Tauranga is not one of them, but to be fair it is kind of two cities that have relatively recently been joined together by a bridge. We are essentially trying to build a city of the future on top of a small city and a beach resort.

But don’t worry, if anyone complains about blocks of flats springing up next to them, it will fall on deaf ears because Phil has made a statement and councils can now feel empowered to act on it.

Basically they can tell their unhappy voters to fly out and find somewhere else to live if they don’t like what’s planned and then blame it all on Phil.

Which is good because I have a number of ideas that are just brilliant but which other people are unlikely to agree with.

Tiny houses

Sometimes in order to think big, you have to think small. And I’m talking shipping containers converted into living spaces.

I know, I know, this is not a new concept, but every time I drive past the port and see towers of containers a lightbulb goes off in my head and I’m pretty sure that’s not a medical condition or a result of poor choices made in the 90s.

We can stack these little units 20 high in the middle of town. As anyone who has had plate of loaded fries and a craft beer at Our Place will know, this is already very trendy.

Imagine how quickly Phil could reach the 100,000 house Kiwibuild target using nothing but shipping containers.

You could even park these containers out of town and tow them in with locomotives each day, drastically cutting down on the amount of traffic on the road.

If you are worried about how they  will look you can clad them in cedar and use some negative detailing – woah, now that’s some serious styling right there.

Tree houses

It strikes me that there are a lot of trees taking up valuable living space in and around town.

You can’t chop a tree down, of course, because the cost to the environment is too high.

However, as anyone who has watched The Treehouse Guys on HGTV will know, you can build quite nice homes in trees and they don’t look weird at all.

I know for a fact this will be very popular because lots of people are already living under trees in the Tauranga CBD.

Sand dunes

Fortunately we have many kilometres of sand dunes which are basically not being used. This is prime real estate and we could have a whole community of youths living in them.

We could burrow into them and line the insides with concrete. Then put all the teenagers in them because they don’t need windows. All they need is a 24-inch screen, a bean bag and a way to cook noodles.

Hopefully proximity to the beach will encourage them to go surfing every now and then at which point they will emerge, seemingly from nowhere, a bit like those sand  hopper things.

This will free up rooms closer to work and transport hubs for grown-ups with jobs.

Floating houses

I think we gave up on airships and things way too easily after the Hindenburg disaster. Come on guys, that was 82 years ago, get over it.

I’m talking a whole bunch of cylindrical floating houses.

We’ll call them pies in the sky and they will fit in perfectly with this new plan, which does focus a lot on building up.

It doesn’t get more up than this.

Now, if you don’t agree with any of these ideas, that’s just too bad because once I’ve convinced the powers-that-be that it is a good idea, you won’t get a say in it.

Container towers, sand hopper communities and pies in the sky are what we need and that’s what we’re getting.

Daniel Hutchinson
From The Hutch