The Council announced yesterday that plans to rebuild key suburban centers are to be dusted off again, with the Sydenham project having been understandably delayed following February’s immense aftershock. Projects are going ahead for both Sydenham and Lyttelton, with other suburban centers to follow. The intention for Sydenham and Lyttelton to act as pilot projects, although it does seem the Council will not go for a one size fits all approach and will develop each center according to its scale, community and character. Engaging with local business and community groups as well as residents is vital, so it is good to see the Council taking the initiative to establish this from the get go.
I have previously blogged on the rebuilding effort in Sydenham, pointing out how crucial it is to get the human scale right and how good priority for public and active transport modes is essential. I also made mention how it might act as a litmus test for CBD redevelopment, something I still think is true. This is an opportunity not to just repair such centers, but to make them better and bring them back as a key part of our communities. Thankfully this is a concept the Mayor and Council seem to support in full. I look forward to seeing this project develop.