Christchurch earthquake rebuilding: speed, not haste

Written By: - Date published: 9:18 am, September 12th, 2010 - 72 comments
Categories: business, housing - Tags:

The Government has announced it intends to push through emergency legislation, with the support of other parties, to expedite the rebuilding of Christchurch. The urge to put things back the way they were is only natural in the wake of a huge physical and psychic shock but let’s take a pause. Let’s have a think how we want Christchurch rebuilt before we let anyone go ahead willy-nilly.

I heard an architect on the radio the other morning saying that there was actually a lot of vacant commercial space in Christchurch due to the recession and the demand to rebuild the lost commercial buildings will be correspondingly smaller. He feared beautiful old buildings that he believed could be saved would be hurriedly torn down and replaced with low-rise soulless offices and that the heart of Christchurch would be further weakened as businesses moved out to the suburban commercial districts.

Maybe there’s an opportunity now to revive Christchurch’s dull CBD by building more apartment buildings, which would also help with the housing crisis the city is facing.

I don’t know. I just think that taking a little time to come up with a coherent vision of what Christchurch could be like is a chance to take some good from this disaster. It worked for Napier. What do you think?

72 comments on “Christchurch earthquake rebuilding: speed, not haste ”

  1. ABC 1

    A bit of thought is always a good idea before permanent alterations begin, but there is another way of looking at it. When all those “beautiful old buildings” were originally built, they were practical expressions of the technology of the day. Anything that goes up now should be equally valued in 100 years or so. A fast solution might discover an innovation or particularly pleasing aesthetic that will be copied or developed in later years. In university lecture halls it will be traced back to the great rebuild of the 2010 quake.
    There is a strange idea that run down 100 year old bricks are somehow more worthy than aluminium siding in a variety of colours. But lets be real, those brick huts are and were ugly too, it’s nostaliga that gives them beauty and glossy renovation magazines that give them relevence. Then you get someone telling the local council that an old abattoir chimney stack shouldn’t be touched, completely forgetting the smell, sound and effluent run-off of it’s original blackened state.
    I remember someone once saying something like: create for the truth of the moment; let posterity take care of itself. That is not a licence to rapidly errect leaky office blocks made of MDF and polystyrene, but a relaxation of the kind of self-consciousness that encourages “over-cooked” designs that desperately wanted to prove something.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      There is a strange idea that run down 100 year old bricks are somehow more worthy than aluminium siding in a variety of colours.

      Quite often they are. I’m not against aluminium siding just ugly square blocks with no character. We seem to have forgotten that building for beauty is probably more important than building for practicality.

      But lets be real, those brick huts are and were ugly too, it’s nostaliga that gives them beauty and glossy renovation magazines that give them relevence.

      Although I tend to agree that old buildings shouldn’t be saved simply because they’re old not all of them were actually ugly. Some of them were works of art.

      • mcflock 1.1.1

        agreed – aluminium ages badly, whereas brick and stone tend to acquire character (patina). Additionally, buildings 100 years ago tended to have significantly more decoration both in structural form and basic window/wall detailing, rather than the linear functionality current architects seem to stick to.

        But the key thing that lets any building down is a lack of maintenance – was it the buildings that looked ugly, or the fact that they were caked in traffic soot and had minor damage acquired over the years and never repaired? A trick property developers in the Dunedin student ghetto have used for years is to buy a 7 bedroom villa on a large section, put rugbyheads in it, refuse to maintain it over several years until it is condemned, and then you can knock it down and buid a 30-person block of tilt-slab apartments. For which one tosser was proudly on the front page of the paper saying he was building “heritage buildings of the future” when they start to look like shit and go mouldy within a couple of years.

        grrr argh.

        • Puddleglum

          Agreed. There’s no law of the universe that says that every general architectural mode will be equalling appealing to human beings 100, 200 or 500 years after its arrival on the scene. Only the completely unreconstructed relativist would think that.

          I’m an amateur on architectural styles but it looks to me like buildings echo prominent values of the age. Given the dominant values of today’s society I’m not keen to see Christchurch re-engineered in our current image. A diversity of old buildings need to be kept as long as possible if only to remind us that societies can live by other values and have operated on different systems.

  2. It worked in Napier. After the devastation of its earthquake in 1931 a bit of thought was put in and the art deco style settled on and promoted has survived to today.

    Christchurch also needs to think of a style. I agree that cheap and nasty is not the way to go.

    • mcflock 2.1

      not to mention London after the Great Fire: avenues and planned public architecture, rather than medieval streets. Getting back a few years now, of course 😉

      • jcuknz 2.1.1

        Whatever is built it should be to the best earthquake resistant standard known to day …. the next quake might not occur in the early morning when everybody was at home in the suburbs.
        I like the idea of city apartments except that they tend to be either expensive or quickly turn into slums as people who are used to living with space are crambed into tight spaces.

  3. the sprout 3

    agreed. the same architect acknowledged a lot of the damaged commercial old buildings weren’t particularly great anyway and provided over-supplied, under-used space.

    i agree with marty’s point – this is a great opportunity to do something inspired with the rebuilding (Napier springs to mind), something that will revitalize the city centre and reverse the trend happening across all our cities – where all life dissipates to urban malls leaving cities hollowed-out waste lands.

    a great opportunity given time, thought and vision.

    on another note, allowing retrospective certification of building seems insane. understandable for the above reasons, but mad considering the role of solid building standards in CH residents’ minimal injuries despite such a significant shake.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      allowing retrospective certification of building seems insane.

      My nephews thought on that (He’s a builder) as soon as it was stated on TV was that they were looking for another version of the Leaky Homes Fiasco. He reckons it’ll be a license to cut corners.

      • Luxated 3.1.1

        Retrospective building certification is what happens in Italy, its great for councils as you pay through the nose for the privilege. Not so great for anyone else though. Of course the smell of potential corruption will attract developers like blowflies to manure.

  4. Tigger 4

    This smells more if wanting to be seen to do something rather than doing what is best for Christchurch.

  5. outofbed 5

    Have a listen to Kennedy Graham on backbenchers He sets out a great strategy for the rebuilding of Christchurch. I think its the last segment. While you are there checkout the very first piece where Kennedy gives a very emotional but incredibly real description of his visit to ChCh.
    Basically the Greens think this presents a real opportunity to design and build energy efficient sustainable housing and whilst speed is important , getting it right is more so

  6. ianmac 6

    Recently while in Hong Kong, or Kowloon to be exact, I was intrigued with the many tiny “parks” or rest areas, scattered through the city. Walk along the crowded street then suddenly there would be an area the size of a house armed with a few trees, some benches and “No Smoking” notices. Men played chess equivalents or just sat and thought. How about that scattered along Christchurch city streets where a missing building provides a gap?

    • prism 6.1

      Here in NZ we don’t go in for thinking and meditating much. Good idea for glue sniffers and RTD use though. First up, we would need to control behaviour in public places and reintroduce laws against drunkenness and drug taking instead of the laissez faire approach at present.

      In Paris and London also, they have little fenced off gardens and play areas and because of the fences mothers have a safe playing area and it creates a little oasis of green with public seating amongst it.

  7. Rharn 7

    I would think more apartments with an increase in inner city population would help with Christchurch’s inner city problems. I don’t see Parker as visionary in this rebuild if re-elected. Key is certainly not.

  8. Anne 8

    Kennedy Graham was superb on Bachbenchers. So much common sense. He even had the courage to suggest the World Rugby Cup should have been given to Japan. They have more resources and it would have been better for the game he said 😉 . I’m a Labour supporter who leans strongly towards the Greens. The so-called “loony left” label that detracters like to pin on them could not be further from the truth.

    • J Mex 8.1

      I thought that stuff about the Rugby World cup was bizarre.

      The Greens champion the ‘buy New Zealand made’ campaigns and then suggest that the RWC, which will provide a massive boost to the NZ economy, and Kennedy Graham wants it sent offshore?


      • Outofbed 8.1.1

        How was it weird?
        He was asked whether he liked rugby , he said yes he loved it and thought that the games development would have been better served if the RWC was held in a developing rugby nation. Which of course is perfectly true.

        • Anne

          In fact he admitted to being a rugby fanatic which is why he concluded the RWC would have been better served in Japan. His love of the game came before other considerations. I guess that’s something RWNJ’s could never get their heads around because for them it’s all me, me, me…

          • Outofbed

            I would of course loved it to be in Japan or anywhere else but here cos I’m already sick of it
            Lets be honest its hardly merits all this attention, only about 1/2 doz national teams of any consequence play the game and the only other country where it is the national sport is in fact Wales. Which says it all really 😉

            • J Mex

              – RWC to generate between $610 million – $1 billion Total Gross Value Added (the accepted measure of additional economic impact) with low cost when compared to other major events.

              – High visitor numbers spread across Host nation

              – Over 4 billion TV viewers

              – Over 350,000 visitors

              But let’s not have it here, ‘Outofbed’, because you are ‘already sick of it’ (and to think that Anne thinks that it’s the right wing that is selfish…)

              The RWC will have a massive positive impact on NZ economy, at very little cost to the environment. I would have thought this was right up the Greens’ alley.

              Would be great to see the Greens start campaigning on a platform that we shouldn’t host the RWC – that’d hit a cord with the majority of Nzers….

              • mcflock

                and the America’s Cup did wonders for all of New Zealand.


                • J Mex

                  See if you can spot the difference, Mcflock.

                  • mcflock

                    Black socks instead of red.

                    Excuse me for not taking the economic best case scenario at face value – I just paid my rates bill for a $200million stadium. I’d love it to break even over 20 years, but I don’t think it’s gonna happen.

                    • jcuknz

                      I read on NYT about a stadium in New York? which owes the community $13 per person and has ended its useful life. No profit for the community there. I wonder how Dunedin’s $350m plus interest is going to fare? urrrgh!

                    • mcflock

                      apparently the success rates of stadia in general is quite unimpressive, they’re just frequently seen as “too big to let fail”.

                      The big problem with Carisbrooke, IMO, wasn’t the facility itself, or the cold weather (hence our lovely expensive roofed job), it was poor management brought about by fiscal desperation. I’m surprised that the few spectators who turned up in person managed to walk steadily at the end of the match – from the ticket prices to the tiny beer cups to the dodgy but caviar-priced pies, the punters were being reamed from go to whoa. And they wandered why nobody turned up, but would rather watch it on tele with supermarket beer and nibbles of their choice.

              • Loota

                NZ is going to get over 350,000 people arriving here to watch the RWC?

                Who the hell makes up these numbers.

                That’s 10 fully booked out WGN Westpac stadiums yeah, just in visiting rugby spectators?

                at very little cost to the environment.

                Hmmmmmm so that’s 750 chocka 747’s flying to NZ and leaving again at the end of it. Just a few tonnes of aviation fuel burnt up there methinks.

                Again, I’d love to know how these surely optmistic visitor numbers and other benefits are arrived at.

                RWC to generate between $610 million – $1 billion Total Gross Value Added

                So we’d have to hold the RWC 2x or 3x next year to bail out South Canterbury Finance?

                • J Mex


                  Those were actually numbers for the last RWC – My mistake.

                  NZ is expecting 80,000 – 100,000 visitors.

                  Dunedin alone is expecting 10,000. That is millions and millions of dollars for the Dunedin economy alone.

                  Again, I’d love to know how these surely optmistic visitor numbers and other benefits are arrived at.

                  You can read a report here

                  Hmmmmmm so that’s 750 chocka 747′s flying to NZ and leaving again at the end of it. Just a few tonnes of aviation fuel burnt up there methinks.

                  Yes. But the RWC is going to happen. Somewhere. The environmental difference between having the RWC in Japan (as the Greens’ representative suggested) and having it in New Zealand, is pretty much zero. I note that Kennedy Graham was enthusiastic about Japan hosting it, so seems to have accepted that there will be a few tonnes of av gas burnt up. Methinks.

                  So we’d have to hold the RWC 2x or 3x next year to bail out South Canterbury Finance?

                  Yes. But the two options are no RWC, or one RWC. One RWC is better than no RWC.

                  In fact, the point I am trying to make is this (just to be really clear):

                  It is better for NZ to host the RWC rather than have Japan host the RWC

                  • J Mex

                    Let’s try that again …


                    It’s an interesting report. For instance, 2500 media expected to attend for 41 days. Assuming a seriously moderate room rate of $100 per day you can find $10 million of extra income for the local economy (effectively an export) right there .

                    • Puddleglum

                      The correct way to estimate bed-night and economic impacts of events like these is to include a range of interlocking factors, some positive some negative. The report you link to only looks at the positives: Direct expenditure, multiplier effects and number of visitors arriving for the event.

                      What should be included are: Expected visitor numbers without the RWC (i.e., normal international visitor projections/growth); expected bed-night capacity (i.e., known or predicted supply capacity at RWC destinations); the likelihood of add-on tours for those visiting for the RWC and how that might impact later visitation (i.e., many use events as their ‘excuse’ to do the once in a lifetime visit to NZ – they may well have done it anyway at some point); expected reduction in non-RWC visitation (e.g., because of visitors perceiving congestion problems and substituting other countries or shortening their visits to NZ); redistribution of bed-nights from some regions to others (i.e., venue centres drawing bed-nights away from other centres), and no doubt other factors.

                      As any economist will say – adding up likely benefits without accounting for likely costs isn’t the best way to proceed, unless you’re only concerned about benefits for a sub-group rather than the whole country.

                • Vicky32

                  I loathe and despise rugby and all team sports. No one ever asked those of who feel this way, whether we wanted to pay taxes and rates at sky-high levels so that the rugby-heads could have their egos fed! I simply don’t believe it’s gonna be a great financial benefit to NZ…

                  • J Mex

                    Luckily, I expect that very few people will ever place any importance on your opinions Deb.

                  • Thats funny. I loathe and despise those who vote for political parties that TELL YOU they will take your money to pay for all those kinds of things . . . .and then complain about it!
                    This is the system that you want
                    this is what you vote for

                    If you don’t like it, then stop giving them your permission to do it – or stop moaning

                    • Vicky32

                      If that’s aimed at me Graham, I didn’t (obviously) vote for JonKey and his bunch of morons – and in fact, I don’t even give sport a thought while voting – other things matter more.
                      So if Labour said they were going to pay for all this rubbish, I never noticed.. and as I have pointed out I’d sooner die than vote NACT…

                  • The Voice of Reason

                    With you all the way, Deb. I’ll start having respect for thugby when they start apologising for their political stance in support of racism in South Africa. But even then, I won’t give a stuff about the game itself, not when there is football and the league to watch.

                    The Rugby World Cup is a minor sporting event, watched by bugger all and of interest to mainly former or current Commonwealth (ie English speaking) countries. The game itself is dull, amateurish and hideously complicated, with the need to re-write the rules annually to make it even harder to enjoy.

                    It’s not like it’s even the most poular sport in NZ. Hell of a lot more netballers and soccer players out there than rugby heads.

                    • J Mex

                      Voice of reason and Deb. It is largely irrelevant whether you like Rugby or not.

                      I don’t like corriander. That doesn’t mean that other people aren’t allowed to enjoy it.

                      A large percentage of New Zealanders find politics and blog sites nauseating. That doesn’t mean that they can insist TVNZ doesn’t cover it.

                      I think you can both agree that New Zealand could do with some more tourism dollars right now, and that the RWC will be a huge boon for this and other industries.

                      It’s not like it’s even the most poular sport in NZ. Hell of a lot more netballers and soccer players out there than rugby heads.

                      Why does it have to be the most popular sport for us to host and enjoy hosting the RWC? Wheelchair rugby isn’t, and we did a great job of hosting that a few years back.

                      I can not believe the small minded attitude that because you don’t personally like it, NZ should not host it. And you guys call ‘RWNJ’s’ selfish.

  9. Just dont let that Miles Warren guy, who designed the eyesore and embarassement that is the town hall complex, anywhere near the process.

    The thing with inner city apartments is. There’s no reason why you’d want to live in the ‘city’ and suffer its associated problems when you got such great burbs and decent public transport.

    Sure, convert what unused office space there is to apartments but making more low cost inner city units and all you’ll be making is future ghettoes.

    Maybe go back to looking at John Brittens visionary dreams for the inner city or build a monorail to the eastern burbs and revitalise Brighton ?

    captcha : trapped (in the past)

    • rosy 9.1

      “The thing with inner city apartments is. There’s no reason why you’d want to live in the ‘city’ and suffer its associated problems when you got such great burbs and decent public transport”.

      If it’s decent inner-city accommodation there’s every reason to live in the inner city. You’d have to pay me heaps to go back to the ‘burbs. But yeah – If you’re going to do this the accommodation needs to be of a reasonable size, sound-proofed, insulated and with nearby ammenities – parks, shopping etc. Low-cost within these parameters is fine, ignoring them is a social disaster waiting to happen.

    • Deborah Kean 9.2

      “There’s no reason why you’d want to live in the ‘city’ and suffer its associated problems when you got such great burbs and decent public transport.”
      I would if I at all could! (Mind you I am in Auckland, and our public transport leaves a lot to be desired…) There are a million inner-city blocks here and sadly, they are the ghettoes you speak of, tiny boxes where tenants don’t have proper tenancy agreements, just ‘licenses to occupy’, which is the main reason why I don’t want an inner-city apartment – yet!

    • Bored 9.3

      Hi Polly,

      Just came back from Chch, saw that the glass had popped out of the top floor of Miles Warrens Westpac Tower. Actually the city may have lost a lot of old buildings but I was struck by how many good ones survived. It would be a tragedy if the survivors got interspersed by new concrete steel and glass boxes.

      I like your monorail to Brighton…the city has got so large that it really needs not only arterial mass transit but also in a post happy motoring world to become a mass of “villages” as it used to be before the afore mentioned car, each with iits own centre and facilities.

  10. Ed 10

    Picking up on the monorail idea, this should be part of a broader review of all public transport – using trains as well as buses.

    • J Mex 10.1

      ‘But main street’s still all cracked and broken..”

      “Sorry Mom, the mob has spoken”



      [Big finish]


    • RobertM 10.2

      The idea of a monorail to New Brighton has to be absurdly expensive and inflexible. Maybe they should have built a tramway from the square to New Brighton with a link off the tram loop across the park to Moana Vale up Fendalton Road, down Ilam Road and back to the city on Riccarton road. As it would be single track it would be less disruptive than putting in double track. When Fendalton Road was widened it would have been easy to put the tracks in the centre partition.
      The problems with trams is the disruption of putting in tracks on major roads. The disruption of insertion and associated complaints with the Croydon and Manchester trams has put back many light rail in London and the UK. I think my tram scheme would be affordable for about the $150 million needed for the new bus exchange.
      The Christchurch bus system is in no way as superior to the Auckland and Wellington systems. For distances up to about 5 kilometres from Britomart its $1.53 on your card on Auckland metro or $1.70 cash. The adult far from Britomart to K Road is only 50c.. Wellington routes are also far cheaper for the inner suburbs than the minimun $2.80 in Auckland. The Aucklands buses are reasonably good when the follow the old tram and trolley bus routes and the Takapuna bus lane gives a fast service to the North Shore. There is a real need for Auckland style affordable private flat high rises in Christchurch. Many of these flats in Auckalnd are spacious and affordable, at least for the basic rent

      • RobertM 10.2.1

        To clarify you really need to look at the Sydney debate for the advantages of light rail over monorails. Many think light rail should be expanded in Sydney rather than heavy rail.
        The bus fare from Queen St to say Grey Lynn or Parnell or Newmarket and parts of Eden is $1.70. In Christchurch the cash far for even short distances say square to Westfield or Addington is $2.80. In Wellington comparable fares would be about $2 from the station to Aro Valley or Haitaiti. You can travel far as an Adult in Auckland for $1.53 off your metro card in Auckland

        • pollywog

          I’m thinking overhead monorail built off tubular steel towers causing minimum disruption to roading. Maybe look at rollercoaster technology ?

          From town to Brighton to Sumner and looping back through Ferrymead, the gondolas and following the main tunnel road into town via Hillsborough, Opawa, allowing for expanding the polytech campus there, and stopping off at Lancaster park.

          Be a bit of work, but well worth it in terms of economic activity, educational expansion, tourism boost and less reliance on cars.

          • mcflock

            like an updated Chicaco elevated train?

            Always an interesting option. Certainly would be innovative, especially if it was quiet.

            • pollywog

              Naturally it would have to be electric so yup…quiet as.

              The thing is, at some stage in a post oil world and figuring ChristCity is still gonna be around, they’ll have to look at innovative transport, so why not now ?

              I hope Jim Anderton gets in and looks to take this on as a legacy. Stamp his mark on the face of churtown like he did with kiwibank for the rest of NZ.

              At least it shows he has a long long term vision, unlike Bob Parker bailing out his developer mate and buying shit properties, which in the wake of the quake, would be worth even less now or pushing up daisies with purchasing the ‘Ellerslie’ flower show.

              Fact is, as mayor, sideshow bob was a great tv show host and that comes through in his stage managed media appearances, looking immaculately bedraggled and hard done by…

              PFFFTTT..i’m not buying it bob and i hope the ChCh massive don’t either.

              • prism

                Polly I can’t see that the Ellerslie Flower Show move is a bad one for Christchurch. It fits with the city’s image and is a good positive event to promote and draw in the crowds who will be positive tourists likely to return, rather than the ones coming for a one-off visit for the RWC leaving a trail of litter, bottles, vomit, noise in the early hours and with some violence thrown in randomly. Flower power is the winner here.

                • pollywog

                  It’s just that it was bought and transplanted to ChCh and not built up from a grassroots local initiative.

                  The problem i found is that christchurch doesnt want to grow up and into an innovative bustling vibrant hi tech metropolis, so people use it as a waystation/stepping stone to train up, develop ideas, then piss off rather than stick around cos no one really wants to grow local infrastructure and theres no venture capital or ballsy venturists willing to take a real punt and sink some money into the town.

                  It used to have airshows and car races at Wigram. That would better suit it’s future image than an auckland flower show.

                  Rather than reinforcing Churtowns leafy, flowery aspects which forever tie it to being an agricultural service industry town, i feel it needs to re invent itself as a hi tech supporter of cutting edge transport technology following on from John Brittens vision.

                  He could have been to ChCh what Peter Jackson is to Welli and we’d be making electric formula 1 cars and bikes then racing them on a world class track by now.

                  Christchurch lacks vision and depth perception. You get that when you’re one eyed 🙂

                  • Bored

                    I grew up when Chch was a city with a fully integrated manufacturing and distribution centre, with a definite feeling that the wealth was created and retained locally. The old industries were ripped out and replaced with imported “cheap” manufactures and the “head offices” which kept the inner city vibrant dissappeared. The ultimate symbol of the affects of “globalisation” to my mind is the shopping strip that covers the old railway workshops where steam engines were pre deisel built from scratch.

                    In the low energy world which we are headed for the old Chch is not such a silly concept, local manufacturing to support the local economy, high tech and low tech, but as I say local. Who however has the vision and the nerve to project our realities away from the “modern” cornucopian viewpoint of life? Who will be brave enough to state it how it really is going to be and to get the ball rolling and plan for the city of the future?

                    • pollywog

                      Yup..Christchurch could be the greenest self sustaining city in the world if it wanted to be.

                      I’d always wanted to ban cars from the inner city and have bikes and rickshaws available, powered by sports clubs looking to fundraise and making them friendly ambassadors.

                      i’d also re vamp the square to provide more green areas and shelter.

                      and build electric cars/vans with interchangeable power plants so you dont have to recharge them. You just swap the front end over on your personal carriage at a service station and carry on driving, and it’s their job to charge up the motors. Then establish them all over the country.

      • comedy 10.2.2

        “There is a real need for Auckland style affordable private flat high rises in Christchurch. Many of these flats in Auckalnd are spacious and affordable, at least for the basic rent.”

        Have you seen the “Auckland style affordable private flat high rises” – I’m guessing no else you’d not be advocating them for CCH.

      • BLiP 10.2.3

        There is a real need for Auckland style affordable private flat high rises in Christchurch. Many of these flats in Auckalnd are spacious and affordable, at least for the basic rent

        The ones with their own indoor water feature, you mean?

  11. marco 11

    I agree Chch is facing a huge housing crisis and it’s CBD is dull and souless. However Chch has unlimited growth potential. It is not constrained by a harbour and hills like Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin. To the west is a plethora of building potential. Unfortunately that will most likely be the default for low cost housing options.

    • jcuknz 11.1

      What will you eat when all the farmland is taken up with housing? Live off what you grow in your backyard ?Though might be better than dairy farm pollution.

    • pollywog 11.2

      I agree Chch is facing a huge housing crisis and it’s CBD is dull and souless.

      Which is why, specific to Christchurch, i don’t know why anyone would want to live in the inner city.

      Having, up until last year, lived there for 10 years, i always found it a pleasure to wander round the city and parks once a month or so, and even on a drunken night out it was good to leave the city and head home.

      So, forced to wander the inner city for a job and lifestyle everyday would soon lose its charm.

      Re : the monorail and beyond. i’d always thought it would be nice to link Sumner and Brighton by an overhead monorail that follws the dune line and cuts across the estuary at Southshore.

      …and on a larger scale, tied into a world class racetrack for cars and motorbikes out by the oxidation ponds in Bexley 🙂

      Offtopic: What are the exceptions RobertM?

      Sol square is nicely hidden and tucked away in the innercity as is Poplar lane. Both of which offer a variety of drinking establishments not usually frequented by the youngers who populate ‘the strip’

      [edit] haha..snap PG !!!

      • lprent 11.2.1

        Which is why, specific to Christchurch, i don’t know why anyone would want to live in the inner city.

        It is somewhat different in Auckland. The transport nightmare makes living close to work (or working from home*) to be optimal. Non-optimal is getting on the damn bridge in a car which is an exercise in futile waste of time. At least on the bus it was faster than with a car and I could read the blogs on the iphone.

        My current job is inside walking distance of work, but I usually avail the use of the Link because Ponsonby road is pretty boring. A 2-3 kilometres of walking with 10kgs of electronics and coffee every day is sufficient for my exercise program…

        * which I did for 7 years. Usually only had to go to work to meet with my programmers and managers once a month.

    • RobertM 11.3

      In reply to Blip most of those Auckland high rise flats do have swimming pools even the ones in $250-350 range. At the 350+end they are comfortable and at 250+ they are cosy.
      I think there are good reasons for private low and mid range high rises in the central christchurch area. The community housing wanted by Jim Anderton tends to be run down, abused and far less efficiently maintained than low cost bloc private housing in Chrsitchurch like the Poulson St units. Seeing such units rent in Christhchurch for about $175+ there seems little need for communtiy housing except in a very limited range of extreme cases. The severe IHC cases should be in rest homes, institutions or dead. People should not waste there lives caring for extreme rest home cases of almost any kind unless there is money. I apologise to those who I offend.
      In terms of Marco’s comments I believe global warming demands more central city high rises and concentrations of population with infilling of housing and increased density within 5 kilometres of the Christchurch centre. My idea of light rail is for economical short distant transit.
      People describe central Auckland as a ghetto but you could argue that the motorways isolate the Christchurch CBD and Addington far more than is the case in Auckland. It is pleasant walk from Queen St to Ponsonby and Grey Lynn and Parnell is within walking distance of Britomart.The problem in Central Auckland is a weak mayor and weak candidates. Bright, Banks and Brown all have IQs of about l04 and have the wool pulled over there eyes by advisers. The need is to close the spillover bars in Fort and K, arrest the panhandlers and street kids.It needs to be transformed into a basically 24hour party zone of a predominantly hetro nature. Mayor Daley after all saved Chicago frombecoming Detroit.

  12. RobertM 12

    I watched Garner and Holmes this sunday morning on the options for reconstruction of Christchurch and the $5 billion cost, most of which will come from Insurance. Nevertheless people like architect Bevan and historian Stefan Eldred Grigg really live in the past with associated friends. Christchurch even more than Auckland is an LA American style low level sprawl city. Christchurh more than any centre in NZ has moved away from a focus on the central shopping area. People in Christchurch only go to the central area to shop at Ballantynes or Farmers or visit the bars or brothels. Ballantynes could move. The bar stips and Hendersons SOL complex of bars do not really work in Chrstchurch and with a few exceptions disapoint backpackers and tourists. Theres a boorish element among the Chrstchurch male population and there are always too many in your face 17-19 yearold male holigans and boorish 30ish Rugby and real estate types to ruin everything.
    I don’t believe many tourists go to Christchurch for the architecture, only the Basilica and Cathederal are of note, everything else that was interesting was knocked down 30 years ago. Th modern glass barcelona like Art Gallery complex is the only intersting modern building in Christchurch. Increasingly the bus routes avoid the square and CBD and focus on Westfield, Merivale, the varsity and Brighton. The CBD was basically ruined socially by the move of the varisty to Ilam and the varsity has been ruined by Canterbury conservatism and the low salaries than mean high quality academic staff are not attracted and ther e is a low turnover and renewal of staff. \
    Christchurch was a far more interesting city ten years ago and since then ,probably 20,000 dynamic under 45 professionals have left for the world

    • J Mex 12.1

      The bar strips and Hendersons SOL complex of bars do not really work in Chrstchurch and with a few exceptions disapoint backpackers and tourists.

      Offtopic: What are the exceptions RobertM? Genuinely interested as I have to spend a week or so in Christchurch next month. Cheers

      • felix 12.1.1

        Take a good book.

      • RobertM 12.1.2

        The Art centre bars- useless, closes too early, crowd too straight (in all the wrong ways) and sober. Tends to be patronised by quiet law students and their right wing tutors. Jugs and Pizzas daylight robbery. Crowd in the courtyard unbelievably boring people, pure Christchurch. Avoid at all times except when skinhead bands and their bogan criminal fans are the audience. They abandoned open mike comedy after I made three performances in that bar 9 years ago and I never got a pass in that bar again.
        The Exchange casino bar, minimal toilets without hot water. This is where jesse Ryder smashed the toilet door. pure shipgirl, Timaru cretin bar. Beautifully primitive. Do a nice steak sandwich and have a lounge bar singer. Primitive. Used to have a Bombay gin and a piss before going into the red light quarter on Wednesday.
        The LA Bar in a narrow st of South columbo near moorhouse. Very prole and provincial. i went to a reunion of those Otago students who attended the Lou Reed metal machine gun heroin gigs in Dunedin in 75 and 76. They asked me to leave after I had drunk 6 bottles of Kentucy Bourbon, stripped to the waste and too four green pills in public. Unbelievable.
        Miky finns – none of the tourist bars ever mention this upstairs warehouse bar on the other side of the road from the entry to one of my past haunts the Doll sHouse where they often danced and rode me naked with hardly any other audience. But at micky Finns they served huge pichers jugs of $6 old dark or something similar. I used have two jugs after l0 cans in my cheap flat and work through the pints. The ban play a relentless hard four piece of Black sabbath, Hendrix and Doors till 4. The barmaids are good looking black T shirt and jeans the securtiy cards are suitably violent, years ago after vomiting they pushed me down into my sick after dragging me back from the toilet along the 30 feet bar, dragged me down long flights of stairs. Best palce in Chrsithcurch. I’m hard broken I cant spend all night drinking there, Tragic. The nice Places, a melborne style bar with city missio n furniture in the lane of Lichfiedl and a few of the frenchified places and resteraunts in the sol complex with gay , cokney ship steward type barmen and the tragedy of the lost Di Lusso where I used to virtually live all night drinkign in a cheap NY cigar bar, ruined, ruined. There is also of course if your really brave, Calendars girls and the chance for a ride with a predatory beauty from Latvia or the Ukraine, flash them the green backs and you’ll see mercenay animal like you wouldn’t believe could exist in NZ.

    • Puddleglum 12.2

      “People in Christchurch only go to the central area to shop at Ballantynes or Farmers or visit the bars or brothels. Ballantynes could move.”


      “Increasingly the bus routes avoid the square and CBD and focus on Westfield, Merivale, the varsity and Brighton.”

      I notice that your perspective is a very ‘North-West’ Christchurch one. Ballantynes might be popular for that crowd but it doesn’t figure for many people in the East and South (barring ‘the hills’, of course). I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything from it and only gone into it for the toilets.

      “I don’t believe many tourists go to Christchurch for the architecture”

      Most tourists come to Christchurch because they fly in here and/or use it as a staging post for points south or a final rest stop before leaving the country. The average length of stay is about 2-3 nights.

      Nevertheless, while they’re here they appreciate the inner city ‘heritage precinct’ that the tram tours around (Arts Centre, Museum, Provincial Buildings, New Regent Street, Cathedral) and sometimes visit the odd attraction on the periphery (Antarctic Centre, Gondola) or take day trips to Akaroa and Hanmer. If you’ve ever listened to the tram drivers’ spiel as they go along a lot of it is about various individual historic buildings, both public and private (e.g., old hotels on Armagh Street) in central Christchurch, which are used as an entree into the city’s history. All you have to do is raise your eyes above street level and you can see some impressively ornate facades along just about any street in town (not so many now, of course), and I’ll wager they’re in many a tourist’s photo collection in their own right.

      To use the lingo, the architectural ambience of Christchurch ‘adds value’ to tourists’ typically brief stays here. That ambience also adds to locals’ experiences of town – Sol Square might not be to your taste (or to mine, at night) but Poplar Lane does very good business for a quieter crowd (even with – or perhaps because of – The Twisted Hop). Poplar Lane works and provides a hidden, Melbournesque, ‘nook and cranny’ interest and experience that Christchurch lacked.

      You’re right that very few come here for the architecture but that doesn’t make it insignificant for tourists’ experiences or locals’ sense of place.

  13. BLiP 13

    Leave it to the developers and it will be a quick transition from The Garden City to the Strip Mall City.

    • felix 13.1

      In before the faux-outrage:

      BLiP that’s so insulting to property developers, and as a tasteless moron I’m deeply offended too.

      It’s as if you’re suggesting that we should take note of all of the real-world experience and ignore the ideology.

      Maybe it’s even racism. That’s it BLiP, you’re racist against greedy ugly stupid people with dumb ideas.

      • mcflock 13.1.1

        goddamn it, why are you lefties always so hateful towards innovative go-getters who gamble other people’s money to pay yet other people to build and manage cheap and tacky concrete boxes, skimming as much as possible from the top before the venture “sadly” fails?

    • Loota 13.2

      Look why are you bloody lefties always against developers making a quick buck. If the new shoddily built buildings fall down again before long, earthquake or no, they will need to be rebuilt and Christchurch will get a double stimulus!

      How good is that.

    • kevyn 13.3

      Well at least that will meet the needs of ordinary people. They all left the city centre when paper forms and file cabinets were replaced with computers and haven’t had any reason to go back except to get pizzled of an evening. A few malingerers hung on til Douglas unleashed the Queen St corporate raiders with the inevitable results for once successful NZ companies.

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