More support for inner-city revitalisation

Posted on January 1, 2011 by

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Like a new years resolution, planner James Lunday has outlined an approach for inner-city revitalisation that, in my opinion, hits the spot in a number of key areas that so many other “visions” presented recently seem to miss. Included is a wee touch on transport as well, so still on topic!

“When I look at Christchurch today, it’s not a decaying city – it’s a city which has never been built to its full potential. It was still- born. There are magnificent buildings at its core but when you look at the four avenues the standard declines. It hasn’t gone from industrial to post-industrial. It’s gone to warehouse. Low value, low cost warehouses.”

Lunday said that with the 4 September earthquake there is a danger that everything could slip back into ‘business as usual’ where things are simply patched up and no change occurs.

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“Glasgow in the 1960s still contained vacant sites from the 1943 bombing. The same thing could happen in Christchurch, except that the spaces will be filled with cars.”

Lunday’s solution for the CBD is to shrink it into a smaller entity, creating a tight commercial core surrounded by a liveable, high density residential area,  and, most interestingly, reduce the ability of the car to move quickly and easily through the inner city.

Interestingly, and in contrast with many other views, he is not too worried about shopping malls and believes that CBDs can compete with them. I really really like what he says there, and I touched on this point in a previous post. People need to stop obsessing with comparing the CBD with shopping malls and only shopping malls. The CBD is much much more than that and will only see its potential revealed when we look at it as a unique entity.

Lunday also touches on the move of commercial activities from the CBD  to industrial areas, and claims that this has been more damaging than malls. I certainly agree.  

“It needs to return to the time when the CBD was a place to be seen, to come for the best shopping and where you come for culture. Let’s face it, there’s no culture in big box developments or the suburbs. There are already snippets in the lanes which have developed here.”

He says he would “plan for a city of one million and consider where people would live and work and enjoy the city. Create a major marketing campaign. Create more cultural centres to promote the arts. Get the national ballet, national orchestra to Christchurch. This can be a festival city. All it needs is a belief in yourself.” Lundays main point seems to be that we need to change the attitude of the people first. Get them enthusiastic about their city and motivated to make it a better place. Without a doubt I agree with this sentiment one hundred percent.

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Posted in: CBD, Christchurch