The earthquake-devastated New Zealand city of Christchurch has announced plans to rebuild its downtown area as a low-rise precinct dominated by parkland.
Much of the central city remains cordoned off after the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that killed 181 people in February, with the danger of falling debris from damaged buildings making it unsafe for the public to enter.
Christchurch Council unveiled a NZ$2 billion draft plan Thursday to rebuild the shattered city’s heart over the next 20 years, including a memorial to earthquake victims. “It’s a safe, sustainable, green, hi-tech, low-rise city in a garden,” Christchurch mayor Bob Parker told reporters.
Under the plan, buildings would be restricted to a maximum of seven storeys and constructed to rigorous standards to avoid the carnage seen in February, when collapsed office blocks accounted for most of the quake’s fatalities. “We have to build a safe city technically but it also has to feel safe for our community — low rise is what people want,” Parker said…
It calls for extensive parkland on the banks of the Avon river that runs through the city and proposes a light rail system linking the downtown area to the suburbs.
There would also be sporting facilities, including an aquatic centre, as well as convention facilities, a library and a redeveloped hospital.
Parker said the council formulated the plan after receiving more than 100,000 suggestions from residents and it would seek public feedback in the coming months. “It’s not the end of the job by any means, it’s a really strong starting point,” he said.
The only real benefit from a natural disaster is the opportunity to rebuild – better than before.
Am I alone in thinking Christchurch will be pretty much complete before the United States, Louisiana and the city of New Orleans complete sorting out the Hurricane Katrina disaster?
The Kiwis I’ve known are clearly folks who believe that building a better life for their family includes doing the same for their community. The United States and especially our politicians have given up on that idea.