The Auckland Central Business District (CBD), also known as the Auckland City Centre, is the Auckland metropolitan area’s geographical and economic centre. It is the region in which Auckland was founded in 1840 by William Hobson, a British Royal Navy officer who served as New Zealand's first governor.
Auckland CBD has an area of 433 hectares equivalent to the Sydney CBD, which is twice as wide as the CBDs of Wellington and Christchurch. The CBD is one of the most densely populated areas in New Zealand, with many commercial and some residential developments with the largest concentration of skyscrapers and businesses in the area.
The Auckland CBD is one of the few locations in New Zealand with skyscraper-sized towers, such as the Vero Centre, the ANZ Center, and the iconic 328-metre tall Sky Tower rising above them.
The Auckland CBD has been the leading hub of business and economic growth in New Zealand for almost two centuries. The area of today's CDB was the location of the original European settlement of Auckland.
The relocation of factories to outlying suburbs was particularly pronounced in the 1950s, partially because of the council planners’ incentives to build industrial areas on Penrose and Rosebank Road and thereby to rid the inner city of noise, pollution and heavy traffic. After 1960, the CBD gradually declined. Factories relocated from the inner city to cheaper land in the west and south of Auckland, and suburban shopping centres closed downtown department stores.
The CBD remained a refuge for the financial and service sector which was strengthened in the 1980s when Auckland replaced Wellington as New Zealand's financial hub, and new high-rise office buildings reshaped the skyline.
In the 1990s, education became the primary export earner of the CBD. As well as the University of Auckland and the Auckland University of Technology, new schools cater to many Asian students.
More recently, the CBD experienced a revival of rapid population growth in the early 21st century. As in 2010, there were about 24,000 apartment units. As in 2018, the CBD is growing at six times the overall pace of the region.
The CBD accounts for 18 per cent of all companies in Auckland City, with financial services, business and ICT services being the largest employment sector.
With its significant jobs and a growing number of residents, the CBD is home to the city's major public transit hubs. These services are focused around the Britomart Transport Center (rail and bus) and the nearby Auckland Ferry Terminal, both near the Auckland waterfront.
The CBD remains attractive to shops, partly due to the very high number of pedestrians on the main shopping streets, such as Queen Street, where the footfall is estimated to be up to 10 times as high as Broadway in Newmarket.
The CBD's major shopping centre, Commercial Bay, opened in 2020 with 18,000 m2 real estate space, made up of 120 shops.
Atrium on Elliott has 736 parking lots and 23 stores, including Warehouse and Rebel Sport.
The Victoria Park Market is a cluster of galleries, workshops, studios, offices, dining and retail outlets, and a gym and Pilates Studio, which currently has 74 stores and 194 car parks.
The University of Auckland and the Auckland University of Technology are major educational institutions in the Auckland CBD.
Established in 1883, the University of Auckland is a public research university in Auckland. It is the top-ranked New Zealand university in the QS World University Rankings and the Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities. Today, the University of Auckland is the largest enrollment-based university in New Zealand, hosting around 40,000 students at five Auckland campuses.
ACG New Zealand International College, ACG Senior College and Auckland International College are private secondary schools within the CBD.
The CBD also has many English language schools for non-native English speakers which form a significant part of Auckland's education business.