A game-changing new approach to designing recreation spaces has received national recognition, with the NZ Recreation Awards highlighting WSP Opus and Auckland Council’s work on Scott Point Sustainable Sports Park.
Catherine Hamilton, WSP Opus’ Technical Principal Landscape Architecture, was the master planner and engagement lead on the project and credits Auckland Council for having the vision to pioneer a deeper approach to parkland provision.
“From the start, this was a project that needed to push the boundaries of sustainability and it will be a world-leading park,” she says.
Scott Point Sustainable Sports Park is New Zealand’s first fully sustainable park, and Catherine says working on the design was an exciting, next level experience.
It was designed with an Australian toolkit developed by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA), a framework that is typically used on big infrastructure projects and is currently being used on the City Rail Link and Sydney Rail.
Using ISCA to guide the delivery of Scott Point meant following a framework of themes including People & Place, Using Resources, Emissions, Pollution & Waste, Ecology, Innovation, and Management & Governance, which led to new ways of thinking.
“For example, a typical approach for a sports park would have us maximise the land area for formal sports use, such as playing fields and hard courts. But ISCA requires you to consider the site holistically and harness its full potential for environmental and human wellbeing. This involved us restoring biodiversity and minimising earthworks that create emissions and waste. It also made us consider how to provide a full range of services for the community, not just services that meet the needs for sports clubs.”
The result is impressive. Instead of packing in sports fields, Scott Point has utilised just 27% of the site for sports fields, 27% for informal recreation and the rest for ecological restoration.
Catherine says that to offset the reduction in space for playing fields and hard courts, the site will have the highest level of technology to ensure it can be used year-round.
“Typically, these are used 40% of the year because they need to downtime for repair or maintenance, but Scott Point’s availability will be substantially increased through high performance sports turf technology. It’s this sort of design on a smaller footprint that delivers amazing outcomes.”
Sustainability innovation includes harnessing human movement through kinetic pavers to supply the park’s energy needs, e-bike and e-vehicle recharging stations, and sustainable green buildings that utilise solar and wind energy, and water capture.
And the innovation doesn’t stop there, Catherine has provisioned for augmented virtual play and events.
“Mobile device apps can be applied to the site to promote play and activation, creating another realm of interaction with the park. It also means minimal material infrastructure and maintenance is required.”
It is envisaged that the critically endangered plant species, Epilobium hertigerum will become an icon for the identity of Scott Point. Epilobium hertigerum is a colonising species that thrives following a disturbance to the land and planned annual community 'scraping' events will be a community building ritual that will promote its habitat.
Scott Point Sustainable Sports Park is a 16.4ha area of land in the northwest of Auckland that is about to be transformed from a rural landscape to a public park to meet the needs of a new community.
Auckland Council engaged WSP Opus to create a detailed master plan, working with senior council team members to deliver on the vision. The project began late 2016, with next stage detailed design undertaken in 2018, and construction expected to commence in late 2019.
Development of this park is no ordinary feat. Scott Point is set to become the first fully sustainable park in New Zealand. Auckland Council is embarking on this project as a flagship for the future sustainable provision of parks. It will help steer the future course of design, development, management and governance of parks across Auckland in a way that responds to the urgent needs of our planet for sustainable custodianship.