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The new Christchurch

Written By: - Date published: 9:29 am, August 12th, 2011 - 36 comments
Categories: community democracy, local government - Tags:

The first hints of the plans for the new Christchurch are out.  On first impressions I like it.  I’m especially glad to see the commitment to light rail (with initial link from the City to the Uni) and the development of the Avon.  What do you reckon?

36 comments on “The new Christchurch ”

  1. Zaphod Beeblebrox 1

    What is it with the obsession with wide open spaces and putting everything as far apart as possible (a la Lewis Mumford- Garden City)? Go to Canberra and you see what I mean.

    If you want a European feel you need to rebuild at European densities.

    • rosy 1.1

      I dunno… 4-5 storeys, light rail connections from the university to the city and lots of green space sounds very much like the European city I live in (actually we have trams, but the same thing in practice). I’m hoping a lot of the 4-5 storeys are apartments and there are purpose built cycleways. Bringing students and residents will turn it back into a real city instead of the doughnut it was. Well done CCC.

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 1.1.1

        Not sure many 250-300K European cities would be a spread out as ChCh. If you wanted that model to work you would have to have a lot of population movement into town. Is there any proposal there to establish a metro urban limit?

        • Blighty

          I think the difference between our city sizes and european ones isn’t so much in the size of downtown areas but the lack of suburban sprawl. european suburbs are much more dense with apartments etc

        • rosy

          It is a central city plan, no?

  2. gingercrush 2

    I don’t get light rail. Where is the demand for it? And there are always very empty buses everywhere here so I just don’t see the need for it. Also why the university? What about the outlying areas of Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Rolleston, West Melton and Pegasus/Woodend.

    • The Voice of Reason 2.1

      The burb’s you mention are too far out for light rail to be effective, gc. But the uni line will be popular as hell, if the patronage of the Orbiter service is anything to go by. (The Orbiter runs a loop round the major malls and the uni and was always packed whenever I used it).

    • r0b 2.2

      If you build it, they will come.  

      Have you ever lived in a city with proper public transport gc?

      • insider 2.2.1

        Except for the four to five months when students are not present…. More like ‘build it and we will fund’.

        • r0b

          Undergrads come and go a bit, but universities never close. I’m from Dunedin where “town” and “gown” are thoroughly intertwined. It works well.

          • insider

            Yes but the undergrads make up a significant number of the potential users. If they are not there will the service be worth running? Light rail is not financially viable on a major commuting spine in Wellington so there is no chance it would be viable for a part time, low volume community like the university. LR is just a fashion statement by people who want to feel ‘cosmopolitan’ or ‘green’.

            • The Voice of Reason

              It will run through Riccarton, which has a huge student/young population, past the mall and toward Avonhead, It will almost certainly  will have ample year round patronage. Try catching a bus anywhere on Riccarton Rd, there is no lack of punters on any of the routes.

              • vto

                Yes. The way it was explained to me was that if you think about it the wagons are lighter than motorcars and autobuses. Superlight. They don’t need to be as robust as cars and trucks because there is no risk of collision or other useless light rail drivers on the tracks. And because the wagons are so light the rails can similarly be constructed to a lightweighter standard, meaning not just less cost but simply easier and quicker and probably moveable even in circumstances. Plus on top of all that travelling in a warm comfy train flying past everyone else stopped on Riccarton Road is pure escapism.

                Go the light rail. They are as light as a teletubby.

    • Policy Parrot 2.3

      I must admit, as a disclaimer, that I am somewhat a rail aficionado.

      I am in favour of light rail, but it needs to proven to work first.
      So what they really be doing first, is promoting commuter rail on the already existing lines, and perhaps use a free shuttle from the former Moorhouse Rail Terminus into the square.

      This could be started within 18 months, perhaps from Amberley to Christchurch, and Ashburton to Christchurch – with monitored parking.

      For the medium term, you’d have to decide on the level of interoperability, sunk past expenditures, between the various public transport methods (i.e. we already have a tram, and normally decent bus service); and also the availability and siting of the rail corridors – perhaps it could go along/adjacent to Harper Ave/Fendalton Road/Memorial Ave (with a small deviation to UC).

      Lincoln University would probably be a better target for in the shorter term, as many students live in town and commute by car.

  3. ropata 3

    I think it’s fantastic. I love the green values espoused everywhere and the concept of giving the city a real garden feel. Also the intensive low rise inner city, the proliferation of urban sanctuaries, light rail, and preference given to pedestrians. It is a manifesto of hope for a city in pain.

    Congratulations to the CCC for their courage, vision, and service to their communities.

  4. meh…I’d move the uni back to the central city and build the light rail to Brighton instead and make it an overhead monorail.

    I’d also redesign the streets to accomodate an indy/F1 racetrack and build a modular steel frame to hang buildings off that can always be added to.

    In event of another earthquake the ‘hanging’ buildings would swing, with the minimal footprint of the foundations being sunk deep into the bedrock to allow them to.

    I’d also grass out the square again and keep the cathedral as is, made safe but preserved as a monument to mans folly and God’s might. Kind of like an urban Glastonbury Abbey

    • Trowlie 4.1

      Great idea with the monorail polly. Or should I call you Lyle Lanley.



    • NickS 4.2

      meh…I’d move the uni back to the central city and build the light rail to Brighton instead and make it an overhead monorail.

      Well, the current site would be difficult to on-sell and has a lot of specialised buildings…

      But on the overhead monorail – FUCK YES

      Sure it’d cost more, but with modern systems they can be very quiet + adding photovoltaic cells to the sunward faces would have the chance to make it generate some of it’s own power, whilst driving a certain irrational percentage of Christchurch utterly bonkers.

  5. freedom 5

    Like many plans for places it looks really good , though in the reality of making it happen? I do have a suspicion the much-heralded wide open public spaces along The Avon will not be so wide or so open once the numbers are crunched and the offers of funds arrive from those with deeper pockets and a strong desire for waterfront positions

  6. Afewknwothetruth 6

    Vision???? I’d say it is much closer to total blindness.

    The plan suggests that Bob Parker is an idiot. a deluded fool, an opportunist or a liar.

    ‘The $8 million memorial will include a space where large gatherings can be held and is expected to be ready by 2019.’

    The global economic system is in accelerating meltdown and will not survive in its present form for more than 2 years.

    We are lving in a post peak oil world; the price of oil is depressed at the moment because of demand destruction throughout most of the developed world, as economies fail to grow (a symptom of peak oil, of course) but is still FOUR TIMES THE PRICE price it was a decade ago. Practically all economic activity in NZ is dependent on oil which is depleting rapidly. Desperate attempts to prop up the system via tar sands, blowing the tops off mountains, deep sea drilling, fracking etc. are leading to ever increasing environmental degradation.

    The ice cover in the Arctic Sea is the lowest on record for this time of year, which portends a sea level rise of several metres this century as potivie feedbacks accelerate, meaning most of the Canterbury Plains will be under water a lot sooner than most people realise.

    Of course, Bob Parker could not hold the position he does if he told the truth. He has an important role to play in maintaining the culture of make-believe at the end of the industrial age, keeping as many of the proles as possible deluded.

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      I found it funny that most of the garden and green initiatives all start in 2015 or later. It is quite likely by that time we won’t have the money to waste on gardens, as you suggest.

  7. Bill 7

    So, a gentified inner city and a mono rail that will be quietly dropped at some point due to cost.

    • r0b 7.1

      What would be your preference Bill?

      • Bill 7.1.1

        My preference to a gentrified inner city is an inner city that isn’t gentrified. And my preference to the cynical punting of an idea that will never be followed through on (mono rail), is simply that such cynicism wasn’t indulged in.

        edit. And why not make the city center ‘car free’…ie public transport and delivery vehicles only?

        • r0b

          What does a non “gentrified” inner city look like? Genuine request for information. (You too fleix – I’d be interested to know what you’d like to see instead). Not that I’ll be back to hear the answer for many hours.

          • Bill

            It’s not what it ‘looks like’. It’s about who can afford to live there.

          • felix

            I think it’s all about the paradigm you start from.

            Take Bill’s idea of a car-free city centre for example. If you start from an idea like that, who knows what kind of city you could come up with?

            But if you start from the idea that you’ll have a network of roads with 4-5 storey buildings all along them containing shops and bars and cafes on the bottom and offices and apartments on top with a few parks and squares here and there…

            …you’re pretty much guaranteed to end up with what you had before.

            Now if that’s what you want, then fine. But let’s not pretend it’s anything else.

            • vto

              felix you noodle ” But let’s not pretend it’s anything else.”. In fact it is something else. A close read should reveal a very solid move to a car-less central city. You will note such things as many of the central city roads being way significantly ‘calmed’ and reduced. Pocket-sized parks, which are easy, quick and highly effective, too. And a widening of the Avon park, too simple. Plus other simple things like green corridors. Just do a few of these easy type numbers, keep the vision, push and encourage and voila. Believe felix, just believe, its easier and far more fun on a cold, damp, grey easterly day…

  8. felix 8

    Low-rise buildings with shops and cafes on the bottom floor? Whoop-de-do.

    Green areas along the river? What vision.

    Perhaps someone could point out what’s different from what was there before, ‘cos I feel like I’m looking at The Emporer’s New Town Planning. With trains.

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      Yeah, I’m not that impressed by it.

      The idea of having all these little back allies and arcades etc seems like it’ll just make it harder to find what you actually want, or you’ll have to walk for miles to get to it. The picture showing how buildings have to hide their roof-line services (air con unit, ducts etc) behind street-facing facades was pretty funny.

      The trains will never happen. We don’t have the population for it. I do like the idea of trains out to university and the airport in particular and should also add Rangiora and Belfast, but it’s never going to happen.

  9. Tel 9

    I’ve flicked through the Draft Central City Plan and I have visions of a city, where the Sun rises over Mount Landfill, casting a warm glow on the inhabitants, who’ll mostly be brand consultants, and lawyers and dental hygenists, all taking a long lunch by the Avon admiring the facade of a city with all it’s services concealed and re-assuring themselves that “wellness” will deal to anyone who’s chip is faulty claiming that exposed services (powerlines and tram power supplies) make good sense in future proofing the city against future earthquakes, where food pop’s out of tubes into their glistening apartments delivered from the outer shakey suburbs located on the shady side of Mt Landfill, where the remaining 95% of the population live in support of the un-sustainable in their sewerage soaked fibrolite cabins, tilling the earth for $1.50 a day, and like to vote for President Key because he promises that his personal goal is for every New Zeelunder to have their own helicopter, because helicopters are not just targets containing Navy SEAL’s but the future of personal transport because we won’t need roads.

    The word “sustainable” throbs in RED every time I read it, and this is as far away from a sustainable rebuild as you could get. Green is mentioned a lot… and mostly applied to the un-sustainble; endless lawns, flower beds, and park trees. It’s a shameful “consume a fucking hole in the planet” unthinking nightmare that people will look at in the future and ask why, how, who and WTF!? It saddens me to see how conventional, impulsive and thoughtless we’ve become as a nation. Sheep.

    I feel better already.

  10. vto 10

    Well raspberries to you lot, and your little widdle tidbits of reality. They can be cleaned off. I think there are many positive ideas in there, they are well located, and getting them underway and encouraged takes not that much time and money and effort. A wholesale change was never on the cards, for obvious reasons felix, sheesh! These settings should lead to very good results imo, and trust me I known them results of bad settings.

    One small step for Bob Parker, one giant leap for Christchurchkind.

    • Afewknwothetruth 10.1

      As Dr. Colin Campbell is noted for saying : ‘If you don’t deal wth reality. reality will deal with you.

      Fantasies and delusions are still freely avbailable for those captivated by the culture of make-believe.

      • ropata 10.1.1

        Agree with VTO.
        light rail is a good idea to reduce the hugely inconvenient trip around Hagley Park for thousands of people daily travelling east-west; mostly between the western industrial hub (Riccarton, Yaldhurst, Middleton, Hornby) and the hospital/central city/eastern suburbs.

        Anyone trying to go between the two major nodes (CBD to Riccarton) faced a major hassle with traffic queues all day

        AFKTT, your spiel “don’t bother building for the future we are all doomed”
        doesn’t help anyone

  11. happynz 11

    One of my concerns with a spiffy new light rail system is that with the knuckleheads that we have in this city is that the carriages would be tagged with permanent markers, seats sliced, windows scored, etc. in no time at all.

    • felix 11.1

      Yeah I thought it was a bit weird that the pretty pictures didn’t have any tagging in them.

      No advertising neither. No corporate logos. No billboards.

      No skinheads no pissheads no litter no vomit no hookers no fumes no quarrels of any sort.

      Who drew these pretty lies?

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