Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Christchurch: Is "quite good" good enough?

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  • Sacha,

    And the Frame logic is confirmed.

    Miskell says this is where the advantage of having all the experts in the one place really showed. Cera's economics team could see angles that Blueprint's architects and urban planners could not imagine.

    The economists said a much fatter park strip - one a whole 220m, or an entire city block wide - would have the double benefit of creating green amenity in that part of town while also mopping up the excess land.

    In post-quake Christchurch, the city's real worry was crashing property values and producing an artificial shortage this way would help prop up the market. And from the Government's point of view, it could also be a canny investment for the Crown.

    Essentially, the Crown would be landbanking property that in the long-term would be made a lot more valuable by Christchurch becoming a success. In future years, if the central city started to bulge at the seams, this land could be released back to the market.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Chch Press survey about plan shows good support but some different priorities to the CCDU boss:

    A Press poll asked 507 readers what they thought of the 100-day blueprint, their most and least favoured projects, what was missing, and when they envisaged the Christchurch rebuild would be complete.

    More than 70 per cent said the blueprint met or exceeded their expectations, though few thought the Government's hope to have it all done by 2017 was realistic.
    ...

    The green frame around a smaller central business district (CBD) was the biggest winner, with 89 per cent of respondents saying they agreed with the idea.

    In terms of importance, aspects ranked in most people's top three were the Avon River precinct (58 per cent), Cathedral Square (35 per cent) and the use of green technologies (31 per cent).

    People were most divided over plans to build a covered stadium, with 44 per cent in favour, 42 per cent opposed and 14 per cent unsure.

    Establishing a cricket oval in Hagley Park was also contentious, with 51 per cent against the idea and 33 per cent agreeing.
    ...

    Isaacs was surprised the use of "green technologies" was so popular, which was "good to know".

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Sacha,

    Essentially, the Crown would be landbanking property that in the long-term would be made a lot more valuable by Christchurch becoming a success. In future years, if the central city started to bulge at the seams, this land could be released back to the market.

    Yes, my heart sank when I read that part.

    Green space as optional extra, to be whittled away at the govt's convenience.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3470 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Sacha,

    Isaacs was surprised the use of “green technologies” was so popular, which was “good to know”.

    I’m pretty sure this came up prominently in Share An Idea. How many times do we have to say these things?

    Also, thinking about the Plan and my feelings almost of panic about it, I do wonder why such an important set of decisions are being taken so swiftly. I know it's important to keep business and investment confidence in the city, but I don't think going off half-cocked will be good for anybody.

    I think it would be so much better, as has been said here by others, to accept a range of temporary measures, like more shipping containers and prefabs, in the short to medium term. And give time for careful planning and consultation.

    I understand the folk who made the Plan in such a short time are pleased with themselves, but that doesn't make the plan workable or sensible.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3470 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2169 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Christ on a cracker. Does she know the origin of that phrase?

    And foremost among many other maddening things in that article:

    heritage-laden CBD epitomised by Cathedral Square is a thing of the past

    I’m sorry, heritage-laden?? That’s one way of describing all the beauty and history Chch people are grieving for.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3470 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    That's a very honest opening sentence.

    I must have missed more about the last word here unless O'Sullivan knows more than Isaacs does:

    It is a stunner. Compact. Cutting edge. Green. Sustainable.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lilith __,

    I’m sorry, heritage-laden??

    As if. Mainly drab modern fare even before the quakes.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Lilith __,

    heritage-laden

    She learnt her city planning from the Beijing Municipal Government? "Heritage? Fetch me ten thousand migrant workers and give them a sledgehammer each!"

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2169 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lilith __,

    many other maddening things in that article

    Her last sentence is a beauty:

    What if other New Zealand cities - particularly Auckland - were given the tools so they too could follow Christchurch's example and wipe the barriers that stymie economic growth?

    Let's knock it all down everywhere so unambitious business can make a buck. Testing the waters as Nick Smith returns to gut the RMA?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    “Heritage? Fetch me ten thousand migrant workers and give them a sledgehammer each!”

    Yes, that's exactly it. :-s

    I think there may have been more old stuff in the CBD than you remember, Sacha. We certainly cried over a lot of what have been described as "character" buildings after the September quake. Lots of 1880s commercial buildings, not especially distinguished and often not well maintained, but giving the city a certain heritage-laden ambience.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3470 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lilith __,

    Oh I lamented all the lovely old Manchester St, etc, buildings. However I'm recalling the nasty boring commercial mosntrosities dominating the skyline around the cbd.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Lilith __,

    I do wonder why such an important set of decisions are being taken so swiftly.

    I honestly believe that the biggest reason was the rhetorical appeal of "100 days" for the minister. The fact that this arbitrary deadline made the big launch clash with the Olympics opening (hence the embarrassing late delay until Monday) shows that the Government can't even do shallow and venal right.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2972 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Sacha,

    I’m recalling the nasty boring commercial mosntrosities dominating the skyline around the cbd

    Yeah the taller ones will mostly be unlamented.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3470 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Lilith __,

    In future years, if the central city started to bulge at the seams, this land could be released back to the market.

    So, ticky tacky houses then, just in the future when all the assets are gone I imagine. I cant get my head around the buildings because I don't see the people sorted. I'd rather see the houses and infrastructure given priority , fixed, and then put up some sort of competition from architects all over the world so the city could work for everyone not just bloody Convention Centre types and property developers that couldn't make good use of their land before the quakes. Now it seems they will make huge profits off the Govt contracts. Wasn't there issues with Bob Parker and Property developer mates before? Or is that pie in the sky now? There is an old thread here about it somewhere. Anyway I just want the people to be ok first, ALL of them.
    Told Fran as much. Doubt she will listen.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6349 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    I can't even muster 'quite good' yet. Maybe I'll come round on a sunnier day :)
    The convention centre in the square says clearly: we don't want you here.
    The giant stadium is going to be largely empty- another massive subsidy (CCC put at least $85m into AMI stadium over two builds, a concrete monstrosity of corporate boxes we'd begun staying away from in droves) for a single, commercial, sport.
    Had the performance centre fronted the square, and the convention centre perhaps doubled with a smaller stadium further from town, maybe I'd like it.
    But the crowning insult: we don't get to vote on these white elephants. We just have to pay for them.
    That stinks.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    Sustainable? Cutting edge? Green. It is fucking not. It is, however Canadian and Australian-pension-fund-investor friendly, and that’s what really counts innit?

    There’s a slight green tinge but it’s pragmatic: the river corridor park for instance is the land that be rebuilt upon without huge cost. The frame is a negotiable asset for the later rebuild stages.

    I dont see a future -thinking city: energy provision, transport provision are all resolutely backward-looking.

    It’s a rebuild not a rethink, and as far as that goes, it’s pretty good. But it’s not cutting edge.

    Fran O’Sullivan obviously didn’t realise her Kool Aid was the Ken Kesey recipe ;-) Oh the swirls! The colours! The ideas!

    And I totally agree with Rob above about the billion-buck monuments. I can spot a major case of legacy disease.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2613 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    She learnt her city planning from the Beijing Municipal Government? "Heritage? Fetch me ten thousand migrant workers and give them a sledgehammer each!"

    I was thinking more Chase Corporation mirror-glass.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4403 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Hebe,

    And I totally agree with Rob above about the billion-buck monuments. I can spot a major case of legacy disease.

    Something Ian Athfield could see and quickly distanced himself from.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6349 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Hebe,

    Fran O’Sullivan obviously didn’t realise her Kool Aid was the Ken Kesey recipe ;-) Oh the swirls! The colours! The ideas!

    My Uncle was friends with that dude. I suspect any relation connection to Fran O'Sullivan witterings on would be an insult of the highest order. :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6349 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    From today’s Feature in the Press;

    Their first priorities were the siting of the convention centre and a landscaping of the Avon to remove the building clutter, making the river once again visible as the sculptural spine of the town.

    So who made those the priorities? Why is a dedicated convention centre a priority? It is because the South Island tourism industry has been hammered by the quakes; and the Govt is intent on sorting that as it is a huge income-earner for the whole country. (Christchurch is a hugely important feeder destination for the rest of the south.) That is justifiable.

    See http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/6950687/New-hope-for-Canterbury-tourism

    What is not justifiable is telling Christchurch people, many of whom are under severe financial and other pressures, to pay for it. Then leveraging off all that to try to enforce council asset sales when it has been a long-held desire of the Nats, and when they know it is an absolute electoral line in the sand down here.

    Fine. Put your convention centre in our Square; but don’t send the bill to Christchurch when it’s not entirely for our benefit. A dollar on every tourist, and fifty on every convention-goer would pay for it.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2613 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    PS And we wouldn’t have to spend megabucks on a new library if the convention centre wasn’t plonked on top of a perfectly repairable old one.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2613 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Hebe,

    And we wouldn’t have to spend megabucks on a new library if the convention centre wasn’t plonked on top of a perfectly repairable old one.

    I think the picture is quite clear, don't you? It is not about the people at all. Amy Adams did her best to hide that they want assets sold to meet these costs in parliament this past week.As if you guys haven't lost enough as it is, they want your blood.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6349 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I have the luxury of stepping away from this, so I will. Dont want to drag those positive about it down. and I can't find merit in any of it so I will bow out.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6349 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Some basic questions:
    Most of these may have been asked and answered. Possibly in this thread :) A quick list of 'what I'd like to know' before deciding on how good this plan is.
    Convention centre.
    Why should we build a convention centre? Why should residents pay for it?
    Why is the convention centre fronting the square? Why not eg further north, along the avon?
    What are the assumptions around its use? How often will it be full? How often empty? What are the economic assumptions? Benefits? Risks? How robust and realistic are they? Now? In 5 years? In 20 years? (How did the last one pan out?)
    Why can’t a convention centre share a space/building with eg a stadium or town hall? What is the long-term future of the international convention business?

    Stadium: Why do we need a stadium? Why should we subsidise a single, comercialised sport? How could a stadium be shared/multipurpose? What are the projections for use? How big should it be? Who decides how big, and on what basis? How much do we need to pay to build it, and what else could we do with that money? Is there any scenario where it would pay for itself?

    The ‘green’ frame: how do we stop this from becoming windswept, empty and forbidding? What happened to the ‘pocket-parks’ and human-scaled development that Chch people wanted? Can we incorporate them? If it’s simply a land-bank, how much is it worth spending developing parklands? Grass may be green, but huge lawns are not environmentally neutral. How can we make them truly green?

    Transport: What happened to a transport plan? How do people move within the CBD? How do they arrive and depart? Where are the pedestrianised areas?

    Where are the human-scaled developments? Where do people live!?!

    Democracy. Why isn’t such a far-reaching and costly blue-print something Chch residents have a say in? For this to be our plan, for our city, we need to vote for it, or lacks democratic legitimacy. Where has our democracy gone!?! (And can we have it back, please)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1590 posts Report Reply

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