February 2011’s Christchurch Earthquake was one of the country’s deadliest peace time disasters.
The natural disaster caused the deaths of 185 people and extensive and devastating built environmental damage. The quake caused major damage to New Zealand’s second largest city, and that destruction is still very visible even over a year later.
However, in the first major consolidated efforts to heal the city, Prime Minister John Key has announced new and exciting plans for the city’s rebuilding and recovery.
Now that the Christchurch Central Developments Unit’s work has been completed, the plans to redevelop the major city have been approved by Cabinet and announced to an excited public.
The Prime Minister says the new plans will not only generate growth in the area, but will allow the city to heal as it should, with sensitivity and mindfulness leading the urban planning efforts.
“Many lives were tragically lost and thousands of homes and buildings destroyed in the earthquake on 22 February last year,” says Key. “This redevelopment of the city will be testament to the past as well as an important step into the future.”
While Key explains that the Christchurch Central Business District (CBD) will be smaller than its predecessor, a major focus will be placed on emphasising a connected cultural precinct area that will include sporting and entertainment infrastructure.
“The new-look city centre will be home to a variety of attractions,” says Key. “Its central focus will be on the core of the city – it will be an area that will once again be a vibrant hub with business, retail, and residential development as well as relaxation spaces.”
These major cultural infrastructure pieces include a cutting-edge stadium, metro sports facility and convention centre. The new plans will also offer industry investment opportunities on the private front, promoting job generation and economic stimulation.
“We are announcing these anchor projects to provide certainty to the private sector, which is interested in investing in other projects around them such as hotels, restaurants and retail developments,” says Key.
The overall goal of the plans will be to recapture the spirit of Christchurch, its vitality and position as a culturally diverse, contemporary city, and delivering this in a more modern and efficient form.