Eugenie Sage

Achieving a compact Christchurch

by Eugenie Sage

 Blog5The Land Use Recovery (LURP) Draft plan outlining where and when future housing, business, infrastructure and leisure should be provided in greater Christchurch, was handed to Minister Brownlee on 5 July.  ECan, under instructions from the Minister, had been developing this future Christchurch plan, and opened it for public submissions in April.

We offered a green submission guide, and in June hosted ‘Achieving a Compact Christchurch’ with UC academic Dr Stacy Rendall. Our public meeting was packed to the rafters with people wanting to discuss best practice alternatives to the LURP plan that was suggesting a sprawled city, catering for those wealthy enough to afford new McMansion houses, living well-beyond our energy means.

Many of our Green supporters made submissions on LURP calling for smarter sustainable planning that involved creating a compact city, by developing existing urban land with medium density affordable housing.

It was encouraging to read Dame Margaret Bazley summarising the public feedback, that many of our concerns raised were strongly supported in submissions. In fact, to see our call for a “compact city” repeated feels like a small win, in that the conversation is broadening. This does not have to be a city just for developers, it can be a vibrant inclusive lively city again.

Dame Margaret says comments received “encouraged the strategic partners to look more closely at how intensification and providing a mix of housing can be promoted in existing urban areas, and to focus on rebuilding communities, not just buildings.”

So now the plan looks at development within existing urban areas, and sets a target of 18,000 new households to be built, as well as two catalyst medium density affordable housing projects. Great timing considering my colleagues Metiria Turei and Holly Walker are coming to Christchurch specifically to talk about affordable housing.

The great green garden city is not guaranteed yet though. The revised draft LURP is not yet online. We need to check just how much it has reduced the urban sprawl originally proposed by allowing 42,000 new sections mainly in greenfield developments.

The revised LURP  is open for public comment from 6 July until 2 August and should be here.  We’ll have a green submission guide to follow shortly.

Published in Environment & Resource Management | Justice & Democracy by Eugenie Sage on Sat, July 6th, 2013   

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