Project: Rundown Town

This project has been several months in the making. I’ve always found old and abandoned buildings fascinating – they tell a story and change the whole environment of the place they’re in. Driving through my small hometown and the surrounding villages earlier this year I noticed a lot of closed shops and dilapidated buildings which had either once thrived or been taken over by numerous owners again and again, only to fail. It made me wonder about the state of the small town in New Zealand, and if it can survive.

Located under an hour’s drive from Auckland City, the Helensville-Kaipara area has been experiencing enormous population growth over the last few years. Why are shops closing when more and more people are moving into rural West Auckland? Has the city expanded so much now that it’s simply easier to drive a few extra minutes to a shopping centre? Do small towns need to be built up in order to survive, thus losing their ‘smallness’? What can be done to preserve the small town in New Zealand whilst ensuring it prospers?

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