Christchurch blueprint outlines a compact, denser L-shaped centre

Christchurch will be divided into precincts of health, arts and entertainment, retail, and the justice and emergency sectors under a new blueprint for the Canterbury rebuild released last night.

Christchurch will be divided into precincts of health, arts and entertainment, retail, and the justice and emergency sectors under a new blueprint for the Canterbury rebuild released last night.

The full Recovery Plan follows on from a draft plan issued in December, which was further developed by CERA’s Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU).

Canterbury earthquake recovery minister Gerry Brownlee says a smaller, greener central city will set Christchurch apart from any other urban centre.

The design concept is based on a 'frame' with three components (east, north and south) that will each have a distinct character.

'Urban gateways' in the north-west and south- east provide entry points to the central city, providing open space and addressing the issue of potentially unconstrained development.

The frame wraps around part of the commercial and retail area framing part of a more compact city core from Tuam Street in the south, to Manchester Street in the east, Kilmore Street in the north and Montreal Street in the west.

According to the plan, the central city has traditionally been too large, with variable building quality and occupancy. Lower buildings will become a defining central city feature in the medium term.

The city's new form will take shape within a large L-shaped green space.

Christchurch city blueprint plan

The low density eastern frame will run from Kilmore Street to Saint Asaph Street, encapsulating an entire block-width of land between Madras and Manchester Streets.  The historic Latimer Square will be retained. As well as cycling and walking paths, the area will provide a link to the stadium and potential fan zone. And it’s expected new medium-density urban living apartments will be developed along the edge of this space.

"This innovation is the most significant change from the draft recovery plan, and is likely to enhance the economic value of the area and promote denser central city development."
The southern part of the frame, from Madras Street to Hagley Avenue, encapsulates the entire block-width of land between Tuam and Saint Asaph Streets. This will be developed into a campus-style area, with a walkway and cycleway.  Sited between the hospital and the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) site, this area will be ideally suited to the health, innovation and education sectors.    
At the southern end of the frame area and close to another anchor project – the hospital and health precinct – will be a new metro sports facility.  The aquatic and indoor arena will be capable of playing host to national and international events and offer high-performance training and sports medicine facilities alongside retail and entertainment activity complementary to sport.
A new convention centre, which will cater for up to 2000 people and complement other large centres proposed in Auckland and Queenstown,  will connect the Square to the Avon River Precinct.

The northern frame will be a setting for new residential or commercial development, providing open space connecting the east frame towards Hagley Park.

Christchurch city blueprintChristchurch city blueprint
(Click to enlarge)

Investment agency established

A new government agency, Invest Christchurch, has been set up to encourage the private sector to contribute billions toward Christchurch's rebuild.

Brownlee says the unit’s initial focus will be the local and national investor, business and development communities, with an international investment marketing campaign set to be launched in the fourth quarter of this year. 

Invest Christchurch will liaise with potential local, national and international investors; build relationships between land owners, businesses, developers and investors; and streamline land acquisition processes for projects under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011.

Says prime minister John Key: "The welcome mat is being rolled out for domestic and offshore investment in the rebuild of Christchurch, which will be one of the largest construction investment opportunities ever to be seen in New Zealand."

Interested parties can contact Invest Christchurch on +64 3 352 0636 or email

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