'Bold and innovative' new Christchurch steps forward
31 Jul 2012
Christchurch New Zealand is preparing to move into a new era that will build on the ‘garden city’ heritage to create an accessible low-rise modern central city framed by green spaces - a people-friendly ‘city in a garden’.
Plans for the new city blueprint - unveiled yesterday (30.07.2012) - reveal the shape of the post-quake 21st century city that is bordered with parks and capitalises on the picturesque Avon River as it meanders through the city.
The smaller central city area, with 28m height or around seven storey limit on new buildings, clusters around the city square and flows into precincts for health, arts and entertainment, shopping, justice and emergency services.
The plan includes major infrastructure such as a 35,000-seat covered sports stadium, a 2000-capacity convention centre overlooking the Avon, a huge aquatic and indoor sports facility, and a central library. It also calls for residential redevelopment with urban living spaces.
The city rebuild is scheduled to be underway by the end of this year.
Notable new inner-city features include a Maori cultural centre, and there will also be a memorial to the victims of the February 22, 2011 earthquake. An international design competition is planned for the memorial and the location is yet to be decided.
The stadium will be located within a short walk of the new city square and cycle ways will link sprawling Hagley Park to the downtown area.
Shops, restaurants, bars and cafes were expected to line the river's edge, and be integrated into the sports venues, in a push to make the revitalised city "very much like Melbourne", NZ Prime Minister John Key said at the unveiling.
Prime Minister Key said it was important to identify sites for the major new projects so that private developers could begin planning hotels, restaurants and shopping areas to complement them.
"I am delighted to see this plan for new development and to know that construction will soon be underway to rebuild my old hometown," Key said.
Bold & innovative
The "bold and innovative" plans put Christchurch on track to again become one of Australasia’s greatest cities, Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter said.
"This blueprint sets out a very clear vision for the central city and really shapes Christchurch as a city of the 21st century - a place where everyone will want to come and stay," Tim Hunter said.
"It keeps the best of the Garden City’s urban layout our forefathers created, enhancing the ‘city in a garden’ image by adding more parks and by shrinking the size of the CBD into a more compact, people-friendly space."
The state-of-the-art convention centre, performing arts theatres, stadium, sports and indoor swimming complex would all be located within easy walking distance of shops, bars, restaurants and cafes, giving the city a marketing edge for attracting conferences, Hunter said.
"Few other cities in the world would have as many top-class facilities within such a small geographical area," he said.
Key blueprint details
Christchurch’s city centre will become a more compact, people-friendly space, framed by parks.
The new green ‘frame’ is part of the blueprint for rebuilding Christchurch’s central city by the New Zealand government agency charged with overseeing the city’s recovery.
Key elements of the plan include:
- Avon River - the Avon riverbanks will become a ribbon of parks to capitalise on this beautiful waterway. On one side, the riverbank will have an urban feel with paving and seating areas; the other riverbank will have natural grassed areas and planting. Public art telling the history of the river will lead towards a Maori cultural centre in Victoria Square.
- Convention centre - in a picturesque heart-of-the-city location, a large convention centre will cater for up 2000 delegates, and include hotels and shops.
- Stadium venue - this 35,000-seat covered facility, catering for international sports events and concerts, will be located within easy walking distance of the convention centre and city hotels.
- Indoor sports and leisure facilities - metro sports hub for aquatic and indoor sports, including a competition-size swimming pool with seating for up to 500, leisure, spa and learners pools, eight indoor courts with 2800 retractable seats. It will be capable of hosting national and international events, and offer high-performance training and sports medicine facilities.
- Performing arts and music venues - new music centre and home for Christchurch’s Symphony Orchestra, and auditoria for the performing arts.
- The Square makeover - the iconic Square, which occupies the heart of the city, will be closed to through traffic and "greened’’ with more grass and plantings, transforming it into a more attractive meeting and picnic place.
- Earthquake memorial - the city will honour victims of the February 22, 2011 earthquake with a memorial. There will be an international competition to select a design.
More details of the blueprint plans can be found on: http://ccdu.govt.nz
Background: Christchurch Convention Centre
A state-of-the-art convention centre will be built in Christchurch in a prime central location - overlooking the Avon River and connecting to the iconic Square.
The 24,000sqm convention centre will cater for 2,000 delegates, and up to three simultaneous events.
It will include two hotels and retail on the ground floor.
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