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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Call for green, modern city

Call for green, modern city

BEN HEATHER
Last updated 05:00 09/05/2011
 
Cantabrians have put forward a range of ideas to rebuild their earthquake-shattered city, ranging from the sensible to the bizarre.

Since the shareanidea.org.nz website went live last week, hundreds of people have posted ideas online on how best to rebuild central Christchurch.

There has been a consistent call for a green, compact, modern and people-friendly central city.

The most common suggestions are more parks and gardens, particularly around the Avon River and Cathedral Square and on rooftops.

"Aim to replicate the Hanging Gardens of Babylon," one man suggested.

Many believe cars should be banned from the central business district, relying instead on cycleways, trams and, in some cases, buses. Some people favour a monorail, linking the central city to suburban hubs or Rangiora and Kaiapoi.

After the horrors of February 22, there is a preference for low-rise buildings, with more apartments, open performance spaces and undercover markets.

Several people want an inner-city mall to compete with the suburbs, but others believe the focus should be on specialist boutique stores and cafes.

Moving Canterbury University into the city remains popular, despite Vice-Chancellor Rod Carr having said it will not happen.

Some believe the quake-damaged Queen Elizabeth II Park Recreation and Sport Centre should be rebuilt in the city.

One of the few areas of major disagreement is over whether to create a modern city or recreate the Victorian or Gothic ambience.

"Rebuild new structures with current earthquake specs, but use old architecture to bring back the old Victorian look to the city," one person said.

Other proposals were more unusual, with one woman suggesting separate areas for the old and the young.

One person said only electric cars should be allowed into the central city, while another wanted horse-drawn trams.

A memorial for quake victims was a popular idea, with one man suggesting the Cathedral spire be rebuilt out of glass, through which light could be beamed "up to the heavens".

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said there seemed to be a consistent call for a green, modern city.

"People recognise that the Garden City brand has additional value in the 21st century," he said. It was still early days and the focus should be on creative ideas, with practical consideration later, he said. "At this stage we are looking at ideas, not taking a vote."

Shareanidea.org.nz was set up by the Christchurch City Council as a sounding board to help develop a post-quake, central-city plan.

A community expo will be held at CBS Canterbury Arena this weekend, with guest speakers and opportunities for residents to put forward their ideas. The council will collect suggestions from the public before preparing a draft plan by mid-July.

That will be presented to the community for written submissions, with hearings in September and October. A final plan will be presented to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority for approval in December.

INTERESTING IDEAS

- An under-cover fresh-produce market. Fresh bread, coffee, cheese, meat, wine, veges.

- An earthquake museum and an earthquake simulator would attract visitors, and position Christchurch as a world leader in seismology and recovery.

- A central-city refuse station, with methane extraction to power/heat the CBD.

- I want to see Weta Workshop design a CBD mall.

- Embrace the Avon River as the Dutch do their canals.

- A Chinatown (in the central city) ... or in some of the derelict buildings of Sydenham.

- Divide the ages. Create a place for youth and then another place for older shoppers. It will solve the age dispute.

- The Press

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