Option B balances future urban development between existing built areas with some expansion into adjacent areas. The map indicates where development would generally occur.

Land Use and HousingOption B Map

Housing and employment development would be balanced between new subdivisions (62%) and urban centre development (38%) in and around existing towns and urban centres, increasing density in some areas of Christchurch

Around 62% (32,320 people) would live in new subdivisions in and around existing towns and urban areas. There would be less productive farmland carved up into larger lifestyle blocks (2-5 hectares). Instead larger sections would recognise people's desire for more land than a standard residential section.

Urban centres or community villages are areas of commercial and retail activity, such as shopping malls and community facilities, including health centres, libraries and cinemas where local residents get many of their day-to-day services, and that serve as community meeting places. Option B focuses development around these urban centres to provide more people with a community village including easier access to these facilities and activities.

Potential urban centres that could be developed are indicated on the map.

Development of urban centres would include two to three storey townhouses and apartments and mixed developments of offices, shops and apartments. Open space and parks would need to be developed to enable recreation opportunities for residents. Urban centre development would account for about 38% of development (housing around 19,809 new residents).

The development of new subdivisions would require integrated planning for new infrastructure (water, sewerage, power and telephone services) and the areas being redeveloped may require significant upgrading of these services. The cost to the community for infrastructure could be $300 million by 2021 and $480 million by 2041.

The combination of redevelopment of urban centres and new development around towns and city boundaries would provide greater choice for housing location and type. Residents would be able to choose from apartments in the Central City, townhouses around urban centres, smaller sections in suburbs or larger sections in rural settings. The wide variety of choice would keep house prices affordable.

Transport

By developing self-sufficient urban centres or villages local residents could be within walking or cycling distance of their workplaces, schools, shops and other facilities. This could reduce many people's need for transport and the distances travelled. Transport connections between urban centres would need to be improved as would parking for vehicles and cycles. The majority of development would occur outside the city and district town centres, so the volume of vehicles on the road would rise. By 2021 there would be a 140% increase in congestion and commuting would take 24% longer. By 2041 congestion would have increased by 290% and commuting would take 50% longer. For example, a trip to work that takes 30 minutes today would take 37 minutes by 2021 and 45 minutes in 2041.

To prevent congestion from reaching these levels building and widening roads would cost $1.5 billion by 2021, and $2 billion by 2041. By 2041 we would be spending over $3.9 billion each year on motoring (the cost of fuel and crashes), in addition to the $2 billion spent on roading.

By increasing the population around urban centres and villages there could be sufficient demand for improved public transport including buses and even light rail. Public transport, cycling and walking could all become more attractive and economically viable.

Community Identity

A large proportion of our residential areas would remain unchanged. Locating development at existing urban centres should strengthen community identity, rather than change it. With the alternative of living in new subdivisions, people choosing to live in more intensive developments will be attracted by what they offer. Like-minded people will naturally move to the locations that offer them what they seek from housing and community identity.

Existing shopping and retail centres at urban centres would expand, offering greater product ranges and services in response to their local communities' needs. Community facilities such as libraries, swimming pools, health and recreation centres are also likely to be developed. As more facilities relocate to urban centres they will attract more people to live within close proximaty. This influx of residents will in turn stimulate more economic and social activity making urban centres self-sustaining communities.

Natural Environment

With growth restricted to around existing towns, and within the City boundaries, open spaces and regional parks could be developed as green zones between Christchurch and the neighbouring district towns. A network of regional parks might stretch from the Port Hills, through the Halswell and Heathcote Rivers/Wigram area, around the airport and aquifer protection zone to the Styx River/Brooklands lagoon area. As well as providing valuable space for group and individual recreation, these regional parks would enhance eco-systems and habitats for the many native species that live in the Greater Christchurch area. Regional parks would create visually attractive landscapes with trees, waterways and open grassland.

Development will result in older housing around urban centres being replaced with well-insulated housing with non-polluting heating. This should result in air quality being improved, particularly since many of the areas likely to be redeveloped have older housing, such as Spreydon, Linwood and Shirley.

With over 62% of the population growth being housed in outer suburbs and around district towns such as Woodend and Lincoln, vehicle emissions will increase 28% by 2021 and 64% by 2041 (carbon monoxide produced will be 160 tonnes/day in 2021 and 200 tonnes/day by 2041).

The reduction in section sizes around urban centres and villages will reduce demand for water from these residents, but development in outer suburbs will increase overall consumption to 2,924 litres per second by 2041, a 40% increase from 2001.

Focusing developments around urban centres improves the ability of emergency services to respond to a natural disaster. It is likely that some emergency services might relocate to these urban centres. Locating new developments to around existing district towns offers two benefits for the community: more of the population will live further from the highest at risk areas for flooding, earthquakes and tsunami (Eastern and Inner Christchurch), and local fire and ambulance services will be within acceptable travelling times to respond to natural disasters.