Christchurch Central Recovery Plan
Achievable, full of potential, and ready to fly. The 100 day spatial blueprint for Christchurch’s recovery is out only three days past its ambitious due date. The blueprint, developed by NZ urban design specialists Boffa Miskell, describes a more compact, low-rise central city – a city of precincts, with strong connections to green spaces and to the river that runs through it. The blueprint envisions ‘a well-formed and vibrant city centre that produces economic and social benefits by bringing people together for business, cultural or social activities’.
About 840 properties are to be bought from owners by the government, so that key facilities can go where they are needed. The old Turners & Growers site, on the edge of the CBD’s eastern precincts has been chosen for a new a covered stadium to replace the earthquake-damaged AMI Stadium. It will seat 35,000 people. A 2000 seat convention centre is also part of the plan, as is increasing the density of dwellings in the inner heart of the CBD, to accommodate 20,000 people. A massive children’s play park will be one of the riverside amenities expected to be fast-tracked to draw people back into the heart of Christchurch. The plan has been founded on a set of goals:
A Vision for Christchurch Central Recovery
- greater productivity
- development of human capital
- sharing of ideas and
- a shared identity
- reflecting heritage
5.5 billion dollars has been set aside by government for implementing the Christchurch recovery plan, which Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister, Gerry Brownlee says, will set it apart from any other urban centre. Seventy per cent of buildings in Christchurch’s centre have been under demolition in the wake of the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, with 80 percent of them insured. Insurers have an obligation to pay to reinstate what was damaged, and there may be a gap between what is paid out, and the actual cost of rebuilding. However, there is reason to be optimistic regarding the affordability of the blue print, and the potential for investor capital to flow back into the city, suggests Chamber of Commerce CEO, Peter Townsend. It is just a plan. We have to make it work, and we will, he told Radio NZ National.
Christchurch Central Development Unit director Warwick Isaccs called the blueprint ‘bold and innovative’. He said that the blueprint was important to lift the confidence of investors, as much as residents. While the stadium might take ten years to complete, Mr Isaccs suggested that within three years, people could expect to see good progress on the proposed river park and the ‘green frame’ around the city. Integrating the river into the fabric of the city will be at the top of the list, Mr Townsend indicated.
Lower buildings will become a defining feature of the central city in the medium term