Government opts for denser inner city living in Chch

The government has heeded warnings Christchurch needs a populated heart and opted for denser inner city living than the draft blueprint for the shattered city delivered last December.

See the full blueprint at

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said that is the most significant change to the draft plan, which was based initially on community consultations following a series of earthquakes which largely destroyed the central business district and rendered thousands of homes uninhabitable.

Releasing the full Recovery Plan this evening in Christchurch, Brownlee called it "a blueprint for a smaller, greener central city that will set Christchurch apart from any other urban centre."

The plan sees the city divided into precincts: health, arts and entertainment, retail, and the justice and emergency sectors.

The city will take shape around a "large L-shaped green space", with low-density open space running along an "eastern frame" from Kilmore Street to St Asaph Street, encapsulating a block-width of land between Madras and Manchester Streets.

THE 10 ANCHOR PROJECTS - click map above to enlarge image.

"It’s expected new urban living apartments will be developed along the edge of this space," said Brownlee. "The most significant change from the draft and is likely to enhance the economic value of the area and promote denser central city development."

The southern part of the frame will be an educational, health and innovation area, from Madras Street to Hagley Avenue. This will cover a block-width of land between Tuam and St Asaph Streets will be a campus-style area, with a walkway and cycleway, sited between the hospital and the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) site.

Brownlee described "a light, airy, college-campus style feel for the home of numerous innovative Christchurch companies and public sector agencies,” understood to include the Christchurch campus of the government's new innovation agency, the Advanced Technology Institute.

Facilities for high performance sports, health and innovation, and a new convention centre are also included.

A carefully coordinated series of endorsements surrounded the release, with the CERA Community Forum calling for a united approach to the plan after long consultations to produce a plan that "broadly" reflected community consensus.

"The focus should not be on what’s wrong with the plan rather it should acknowledge its vision. It should also have the flexibility to include community needs as the recovery progresses," said the forum's chair, Trevor McIntyre.

"The business community and interested investors finally have a broad-brush urban plan that recognises a way forward that can provide confidence to reinvest capital back into the central city."

The new convention centre will cater for up to 2000 people, will connect the Square to the Avon River precinct, and is intended as a catalyst for hotel investment.

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And this tepid scheme will kickstart the recovery?? Make everything smaller and low rise with the promise of an overpriced stadium in 10 years.

It is simply beyond belief that this is a serious proposal! Where did the vision and ambition go?

Small minded thinking like this doesn't cut the mustard in the 21st century - next idea please!


My first reaction is that this is a brilliant concept which encapsulates the clearly stated preferences of the people. We can't all agree on everything so we need to support this and forge ahead with building a new city. My congratulations to the planners.


Screams of Etzioni style Communitarianism i.e. a synthesis of corporatism and socialism. Local government is the soft vulnerable underbelly for all kinds of international treaty sourced (Agenda 21) interference in sovereign Kiwi affairs such as high density housing, restrictions on where to live, work and play over the next few years and what we can no longer do if we own a rural property.

I note that Jim Diers from Seattle is going to be in NZ in August teaching Asset Based Community Development to Auckland Super City staff and local sustainable neighbourhood groups. He's great at creating fractious communities!

Why is Auckland Council using ratepayers money to get a self-confessed Alinsky-community organiser to teach Council how to set up sock-puppet 'faux' community groups with Auckland Council facilitators leading same to a preordained consensus in 'what needs to be done in our community'. Was this the kind of community consultation on offer in Chch?

This Delphi technique manufactured consensus stuff is really rearing it's head in Auckland at the moment. One suspects that Penny Hulse's former position at Waitakere Council, where they signed an MOU with ICLEI, is one reason.

Given ABCD is all about high density housing, sock puppet community groups and ultimately an attack on single family neighbourhoods and homes why are we allowing Auckland Council to use our rates to consult with those who are against us.

Nothing super about super city socialists and sock puppets!


Looks sensible to me.


Can someone tell us which private investors will put money into a city that won't stop shaking???


Only the private investors who can find tenants that won't mind leasing space in their new buildings in a city that won't stop shaking


Have the planners explored the option of moving the city center off the swamp to surrounding stable ground?


Saw some great spots to hide and then jump out and rape / bash / rob innocent passers by from. How will the 32 police that are working at any one time in this city make all this space safe?


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