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Christchurch our lovely City – by David Fox

This is a copy of an article by David that was published in the Chamber of Commerce “Update – rebuild” document on 10th June.

The site for the city of Christchurch was selected by Captain Thomas in the late 1840’s with the design and layout completed shortly thereafter – a seriously challenging task for Canterbury’s first Chief Surveyor – a model of design in its day.

Over the last 160 years the citizens of Christchurch have developed a city with charm, a city centre with a graceful meandering river, beautiful mature trees and the atmosphere of an old English town – a city loved and admired by its citizens and by many international visitors.

While the recent earthquake has dealt many parts of the city a serious blow it is the damage to the CBD and its cultural buildings that has been the most upsetting to many.  The impacts both economically and culturally are severe.

Vigour and action:  the central city needs these things now.

The Focus needs to be on restoration and enhancement of the CBD area between Lichfield Street, Madras Street, Peterborough Street and Rolleston Ave (the beautiful heart of the City).

  • Long term we need to create spaces and places that people want to visit and revisit
  • New buildings and structures need aesthetic qualities that will enrich the city-scape
  • Cars and vehicles should not dominate the city hub but provision needs to be made for access and parking in the new CBD
  • The one way system provides good access to inner city areas and supplements traffic on the four avenues however traffic movement on Durham and Montreal Streets need to be slowed
  • The grid style layout of the central city was excellent and worked very well for a hundred years.  However many intersections need to be modified, some roads closed off to vehicles and roading priorities set so that motorised traffic on the grid layout does not create gird-lock (think Manchester Street!)
  • Air bridges, buildings or structures across roads would soften the streetscape providing interesting spaces and shelter from the easterly’s
  • We need new medium housing close to the new CBD based around small village greens

Act now – the city centre needs to be populated, it needs people and it needs as much activity as it can get ASAP.  Such actions could include:

  • The completion of a cricket ground in Hagley Oval for test cricket
  • The stand-off between the Arts Centre and The Dux needs to be resolved – The Dux has been one of the “energy spots” for years
  • Re-establish back packer accommodation – this will support city life
  • Get hotels up and running ASAP


Christchurch Map 1850

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