Christchurch City Summary [PDF 159MB]

Business as Usual Option

Business as Usual continues current trends of development spreading out around the Greater Christchurch area in new subdivisions north of the Waimakariri River and southwest into Selwyn, with some housing in urban renewal developments.

Christchurch City is growing. Projections of population growth, assuming Business as Usual continues unchanged, indicate Christchurch City's population will increase over the next 40 years from 327,200 in 2001 to 398,510 in 2041. The number of households is growing even more rapidly, from 129,700 in 2001 to an expected 170,293 in 2041. Around 40,593 additional dwellings required for 71,310 extra people.

Christchurch suburbs, such as St Albans, Linwood and Addington, would continue being redeveloped. Housing choices might include two to three-storey apartments and townhouses. Christchurch's outer suburbs will continue to expand outward.

With most development spread out around the area, people will spend more time travelling to their destinations. Arterial roads and city streets will become more congested as these out-of-town residents travel into Christchurch to work, attend school, shop, play sport and enjoy entertainment and recreation facilities.

For people living in Christchurch's Central City and inner suburbs, walking and cycling may be practical alternatives to driving, and public transport services should be good in Christchurch.

The social make-up of communities being redeveloped could change community facilities. Libraries, clubs and even schools could face closure as redevelopment changes the facilities required. The transition of population from old to new or redeveloping suburbs could also result in a loss of social cohesion.

With growth spreading outward from Christchurch City into the countryside, there will be fewer opportunities to create regional parks. The open space between existing towns will increasingly fill up with housing developments. People will need to travel further to escape built up areas and find open space for recreation and leisure.

Impact of Business as Usual Option on Christchurch City

  • Some development in Central City and inner suburbs
  • Increased traffic congestion in Christchurch cycling and walking and public transport good alternatives for some residents
  • Community facilities change with residents ageing and moving
  • Loss of rural space fewer regional parks

Option A

Option A concentrates development within Christchurch and the larger towns of Rangiora and Rolleston. Existing housing would be redeveloped (for example, replacing older homes on larger sections with townhouses and apartments) and new subdivisions developed adjacent to existing areas.

Around 60% of new housing would be urban renewal, and 40% would be in new subdivisions. A green belt would be established to prevent urban areas of Christchurch, Rangiora and Rolleston, spreading into farmland or each other and to discourage further conversion of farmland and open space to lifestyle and rural-residential developments.

Redevelopment in suburbs such as Spreydon, Waltham, Linwood, Richmond, St Albans and Riccarton would increase as multi-storey townhouses, apartments and flats replace older villas and bungalows. Section sizes would be smaller as redevelopment increased and mixed developments of commercial space on lower floors and residential on upper floors would occur.

Concentrating development within existing urban areas will make some roads more congested. Some people in Christchurch may live closer to their work places making walking, cycling and public transport practical alternatives to driving their cars.

Concentrating development within existing urban areas increases the potential for new residents to maintain community identity through joining existing social, cultural and sporting groups. This should ensure the survival of community amenities such as swimming pools, libraries and schools.

Large numbers of new residents moving into existing communities could also change the services required. For example, more quality public space would be needed for people living in high-density developments with less private outdoor space.

By limiting growth to within and around the existing urban areas, green zones and regional parks can be created around each urban area to provide for recreational activities. Farmland can continue to be used for primary production, and outstanding natural landscapes, such as the Port Hills, can be preserved.

Impact of Option A on Christchurch City

  • Increased development in Central City and Inner suburbs
  • Increased traffic congestion on some roads in Christchurch cycling and walking good alternatives for many people
  • Improved community facilities in inner suburbs and enhanced public transport
  • Rural landscapes preserved, regional parks developed

Option B balances future urban development between existing towns and urban centres, increasing density in some areas of Christchurch, with some expansion into adjacent areas.

Urban centres or community villages focus around shopping malls and community facilities, including health centres, libraries and cinemas where local residents get many of their day-to-day services, and serve as community meeting places. Development of urban centres would include two and three-storey townhouses and apartments and mixed developments of offices, shops and apartments. 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.

Urban centres might include Barrington (Spreydon), Eastgate (Linwood), Ferrymead, Hornby, New Brighton, Northlands (Papanui), Riccarton, Sumner and The Palms (Shirley).

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. By increasing the population around urban centres and villages there could be sufficient demand for improved public transport.

Locating development at existing urban centres should strengthen community identity. Existing shopping at urban centres might 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 attracting people to live within close proximity. This influx of residents will in turn stimulate more economic and social activity at urban centres.

With growth limited to around existing towns, and within the City boundaries, green zones / regional parks between Christchurch and the neighbouring district towns could be developed. As well as providing valuable space for recreation, these regional parks would enhance eco-systems and habitats for the native species that live in the Greater Christchurch area.

Impact of Option B on Christchurch City

  • Increased development around urban centres and Central City
  • Increased traffic congestion on some roads in Christchurch cycling, walking and enhanced public transport good alternatives around urban centres
  • Improved community facilities and economic activity around urban centres
  • Rural landscapes preserved, regional parks developed

Option C

Option C disperses development out around the Greater Christchurch area away from established urban areas.

About 90% of housing development would be in new subdivisions and rural residential developments in areas to the southwest of Christchurch City around Rolleston and Lincoln, north of the Waimakariri River, around Rangiora and Pegasus Bay, and around the Lyttelton Harbour Basin. Christchurch would be contained within its existing boundaries with just 30% of the development being in urban renewal.

The look and feel of existing neighbourhoods in both inner and outer suburbs would change little. Sections would remain similar sizes within existing urban areas, though some renewal of areas already zoned for higher density (such as Philipstown, Addington and parts of St Albans) would continue. Limited redevelopment in Christchurch's central city would proceed.

With development spread out around the Greater Christchurch area, people will spend more time travelling from their homes to work, school and shops. Arterial roads and streets within Christchurch are likely to become more congested as out-of-town residents drive into the city to reach work, schools, shopping and recreational attractions. Walking, cycling and using public transport are unlikely to be attractive alternatives to driving.

The transition of population from old to new suburbs could result in a loss of community groups and facilities and social cohesion within older established suburbs in Christchurch. Existing facilities, sports and cultural groups in established suburbs may struggle to survive without a steady inflow of new residents. The ageing of the population will also impact upon demand for community facilities and for housing located closer to services such as hospitals, health and social centres and shopping.

By encouraging growth to spread outward, the opportunity to create large open spaces and regional parks is reduced. As development moves out into the countryside, productive lands currently used for market gardening and farming would be lost. The current separation of town and country would be blurred as development spread in every direction.

Impact of Option C on Christchurch City

  • Small amount of development in Central City and inner suburbs
  • Increased traffic congestion in Christchurch cycling, walking and public transport poor alternatives for most residents
  • Loss of community facilities with shift outward to districts and population ageing
  • Loss of rural space fewer regional parks