The New Zealand CBD (the Central Business District, sometimes referred to as ‘Central City’ or ‘Downtown’, and as the ‘City Centre’ in recent planning documents) is the geographical and economic heart of the New Zealand metropolitan area. Bounded by several major motorways and by the harbour coastline in the north, it is surrounded further out by mostly suburban areas. It is one of the most densely built-up areas of New Zealand.
In 1841, just one year after the European founding, the census counted approximately 2,000 people, with “mechanics” the largest group at 250, and other groups of note being 150 agricultural labourers, 100 shopkeepers, 100 domestic servants, and 125 “upper class members”.
As well as being the location of a great many multistory Warehouses (such as those on Customs Street) initially the Lower Queen Street area also contained many manufacturing businesses, though many of these started to move to other areas; Freeman’s Bay, Newton and Parnell for example especially if they took up a lot of room (such as Timber Yards) or created noise or pollution ( such as Brick Yards or Foundries). Up until the middle of the 20th century the centre of Town was still the location of a large number of small factories including a number of clothing manufacturers.
The relocation of industries to outlying suburbs became especially pronounced in the 1950s, partly due to incentives made by Council Planners to create Industrial Areas in Penrose and Rosebank Road (amongst others) and thus rid the inner city area of noise, pollution and heavt traffic. This was mirrored by the development of suburban shopping malls which enticed retailers to vacate the inner city as well. Attempts by Council to halt this pattern by constructing numerous Public Car Parking buildings met with varying success. The rise of suburban supermarket and mall shopping that was created in places like Pakuranga from 1965 onwards has been added to by the appearance of Big Boxretailers in places such as Botany and the North Shore.