'Idiots' threaten inner city lifestyle
Do crowds of drunks in the street keep you indoors at night?
Many inner city Auckland residents feel isolated, disconnected and are scared at night because of drunk and unruly crowds descending on to the streets where they live, a survey has found.
The survey - Connectedness in Auckland's Inner City, commissioned by the Parnell Trust - also found residents felt imposed upon by large-scale events like the Rugby World Cup, because large crowds with little regard for local residents' needs descended on the city.
The results come after Mayor Len Brown spent a night on the streets at the weekend viewing what happens at 4am.
Brown said he was surprised by the drunken behaviour of ''real idiots'' in the area.
The survey, in which the authors talked to more than 400 central Aucklanders, was designed to show how the area is changing.
Auckland's inner city population, estimated at between 20,000 and 30,000 in 2011, is highly diverse in terms of ethnicity, age, and length of residence, the report by AUT's Centre for Community Investment and Development said.
The 2006 Census reported a population mix of 29.1 per cent New Zealand European, 28.7 per cent Chinese and 42.2 per cent other ethnic groups.
Eighty four per cent of residents were under the age of 44 years and 32 per cent were students.
Results showed respondents felt disconnected to the city at night when drunken behaviour, noise and uncleanliness made their neighbourhood feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
''While 87.2 per cent of respondents reported that they felt safe in their apartment buildings during the day, only 70.8 per cent reported that they felt safe in their apartments at night. The overall safety in the inner city was very low, 79.8 per cent of respondents reported feeling safe in the inner city during the day but only 51.6 per cent felt safe at night,'' the report said.
The perceptions of safety impacted on whether or not residents would become involved in activities. Key spaces where people gathered and felt most connected to included the Auckland Central library, parks and the waterfront.
Events and organised activities such as Diwali, the Auckland Lantern Festival and weekly Britomart markets provided opportunities for people to connect with others.
Churches were identified as providing opportunities for organised community engagement.
The report said civic participation by Auckland inner city residents was low, with only a small number of respondents reporting that they actively engaged in local politics and community groups.
The report recommended initiatives to make residents feel more connected to the city, including ensuring the area is 'child-friendly' and features plenty of activities, discussion groups, mini-festivals and celebrations.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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