Sometimes things can really surprise you…In a good way I mean. I left Auckland 5 years ago, not entirely sad to say good-bye to it..the traffic, the noise, the real lack of a down town city centre with any discernible “heart”, the inability to walk anywhere, the lack of good quality inner city urban environments (in the CBD), the lack of trees…well, Auckland CBD, I think you have come of age. Now, I know its rugby time and you have made yourself all pretty for the big “to do”, but you really have grown up…and in an interesting, funky, edgy, creative, inspiring kind of way! And you have lots of places to sit, walk, talk, meet, in streets that are not full of cars, but actually, full of people, and furniture and real, blossoming trees!…And grass and fun things to sit on, rest on, read a book on, interesting play grounds and sculptures……what a pleasure to be here! You have lots of little cafe’s, boutique shops, and little kiosks, in all sorts of nooks and crannies and lanes where people have priority. Old buildings are being restored, spaces are being transformed in a good way…Your main down-town streets are no longer a deserted wasteland, not that long ago only filled with cars, bus loads of tourists and foreign students, but now really, really full of people…families, children, workers, all sorts of people…a real city! Big tall buildings and modern glass/chrome facades? Yes, they are there, Auckland is a big cosompolitan city after all, with all that big glass shiny-ness. But… what you discover, if you walk around and spend some time, is that this city centre is a livable, human-scale, vibrant, thriving city – with lots to discovery…and I for one, am very jealous! Something good is going on!