Urban Growth Programme

Huihui Mai Greater Christchurch – let’s come together to plan our future.

Urban Growth Planning

In early 2023 we asked our community for their views on how to tackle future challenges facing Greater Christchurch, and we heard from over 7000 of you.

You can read a summary of what we heard from the engagement [PDF, 723 KB](external link) and find out more about what we heard

These views and our extensive background work are reflected in the draft Greater Christchurch Spatial Plan, which was approved for consultation by the Whakawhanake Kāinga Committee on 12 May 2023.

The draft Plan opens for public submissions on 19 June.

In the May 2023 meeting, the Whakawhanake Kāinga Committee also endorsed the Mass Rapid Transit Indicative Business Case. You can also find out more information about next steps below.

By 2050 more than 700,000 people are projected to be living in the Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri districts – 30% more people than there are today. Our population could double to 1 million people within the next 60 years, if not earlier. 

Where will people live and work? How will people get around without increasing congestion and travel times? How do we protect and enhance our environment, make our region more resilient, and ensure Greater Christchurch remains one of the greatest places to live?

Central government, mana whenua, and local government are working together to prepare an ambitious plan for Greater Christchurch so that we can get ahead of the game in relation to planning for future growth, and give effect to our residents’ aspirations for the future of Greater Christchurch.

The Urban Growth Programme includes:

  • Greater Christchurch Spatial Plan - which will provide a blueprint for how we will accommodate future population and business growth in our city region
  • Greater Christchurch Transport Plan - which will provide for consistent and integrated investment in transport and propose an action plan in the short, medium and longer term
  • Mass Rapid Transit Indicative Business Case - exploring the creation of a high-tech, high-frequency, high-capacity, no-emission, public transport service called 'turn up and go'


Greater Christchurch is Aotearoa New Zealand’s second-largest urban area with a population of over half a million people – 10% of the national population and 45% of the South Island population.  It is the economic, logistics and service hub for the Waitaha/Canterbury region and the South Island.

Greater Christchurch has recorded more than a decade of strong population and employment growth. This growth, along with the redistribution of people and businesses displaced by the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, and significant investment in recovery and regeneration, has changed our urban areas.

We expect this strong growth rate to continue.  We need to plan now for how our urban areas will provide housing for more people and what they will need to live well in the future.

We've had a coordinated approach to urban planning and transport investment in Greater Christchurch since 2007. 

Our current Urban Growth Programme builds on this work, considering future opportunities and challenges and integrating urban and transport planning for our urban areas so we are ready for the future.

In 2020 Greater Christchurch residents told us that by 2050 they wanted Christchurch to be sustainable, vibrant and safe, with less urban sprawl, more affordable housing and much better transport options lessening our dependence on cars.  See the Engagement Report [PDF, 747 KB](external link) for more details of what the community told us.  This has provided us with clear direction on the aspirations of the community, which is guiding our current work.

Greater Christchurch has a strong foundation to develop a sustainable and modern city where people enjoy a high standard of living.  Read our Foundation Report(external link) if you want to learn more about the strengths we can build on and the challenges we need to address as we plan for the future.

Who is involved

Local Councils, mana whenua, and the Crown set up the Whakawhanake Kāinga Komiti (Urban Growth Partnership for Greater Christchurch), last year (2022) to collectively plan for our future growth.

Together the Partnership will leverage the tools, resources and investment needed to make transformative change in Greater Christchurch regarding housing, land use and infrastructure planning, including transport.

The partners include:

  • Mana whenua
  • Environment Canterbury
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Selwyn District Council
  • Waimakariri District Council
  • Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand
  • Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency
  • Crown (led by Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga - Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Kāinga Ora, Te Tari Taiwhenua - Department of Internal Affairs)