Guardians of the Park: Intensifying development along the edge of urban green space within Christchurch.

Author: Willis, James

Date: 2016

Publisher: Victoria University of Wellington

Type: Scholarly text, Masters

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Victoria University of Wellington


On February 22 2011 a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the Canterbury region causing widespread damage to both Christchurch city and surrounding areas. The quake devastated the city taking lives and causing significant damage to building and land infrastructure both in the inner city and the eastern suburbs. Whilst there has been significant investment and re-development within the central city much of the eastern areas have been neglected. Over 7000 homes have been demolished in the eastern residential red zone leaving a large swathe of land which stretches from the edge of the city centre to New Brighton. With such significant infrastructure being lost much of the city has shifted west with further developments being planned on the outskirts of the city adding to the existing problem of planned urban sprawl that had begun long before 2011. This thesis explores opinions for the eastern residential red zone, building upon existing proposals to turn the area into an urban forest – letting the area return to nature and transforming it into a place where the city celebrates the environment rather than fighting against it. What happens on the edge of this emerging green space will be key to how the eastern suburbs begin to recover post-earthquake and also how successfully this space is integrated into a city with a changing identity. At the urban scale, the proposal explores opinions for the edge of this developing green space through the development of 6 nodes or ‘Guardians of the Park’. These nodes draw from Peter Calthorpe’s theory of the pedestrian pocket, creating a series of interconnected areas of intensification that stretch from the edge of the CBD following the Avon River to New Brighton. Each node is walking distance from significant transport infrastructure and intended to reinforce the city’s connection with the green space through a form of mixed use development with housing, light retail and a number of recreational facilities. Through these nodes the design case study explores the potential for architecture on the edge of this green corridor to be increased in density and stimulate more significant redevelopment in the east though providing access to this new amenity. It explores access to and connection with both open space and recreational activity incorporating theories of increased density housing development and public transport.

Subjects: Christchurch, Red Zone, Recreation, Open Space, Tennis, Medium Density Housing

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