Great southern city - Christchurch in 2030
In 2030, Christchurch’s central city will be full of completed anchor projects.
These include the stadium (or multi-use arena) for concerts and international rugby; a central city convention centre capable of hosting 2000 delegates; and the Metro Sports Facility, which will be one of New Zealand’s largest aquatic centres.
It’s seems unlikely that a major upgrade to Cathedral Square will be complete by 2030, as the $60 to $80 million needed for a Regenerate Christchurch plan remains unconfirmed.
However, Canterbury Anglican Bishop Peter Carrell says the opening of the Christ Church Cathedral, expected between 2027 and 2030, will be one of several projects that will help make Christchurch feel whole again by 2030.
“I think it’ll mean the Square will be a completed place,” he says, adding that the re-opening would be a “very big wonderful occasion”.
With legalisation of medicinal cannabis in April and a referendum on personal use in November, New Zealanders attitudes toward cannabis promises to be an interesting societal development within the next 10 years.
Curator of Christchurch’s Whakamana cannabis museum Abe Gray predicted by 2030 that cannabis will “be as common as it is now, but it won’t be as hidden away”.
Gray expects some cities to push back on cannabis legislation, but believed Christchurch would embrace it. Cannabis cafes would be around, Gray added, but he didn’t think they’d be as common as bars.
ChristchurchNZ forecasts 615,800 residents will be living in Greater Christchurch by 2028. This means growing the city and surrounds by some 10,000 new residents a year, three-quarters of them through immigration.
The Christchurch City Council hopes 20,000 of these residents will live in the central city and is hoping to attract them through homebuyers incentives, supporting alternative housing, and initiatives to help developers.
Passenger numbers at Christchurch International Airport grew by 1.24 millon from 2014 compared to 2019. If growth continues at that rate for the next 10 years, then 9.4 million passengers will be serviced by our airport in 2030. Planned developments at the airport will allow for 12 million passengers by 2040, when a forecast 20,000 will work on its expanding campus.
Low house prices will attract more permanent residents to Christchurch, according to prominent home builder Mike Greer.
He estimates about 5000 homes will be built each year on average until 2030, or 50,000 by 2030. Greer says greenfield developments on the edge of the city will be common, as they offer “much more house” compared to the central city.
Brendon Harre, nurse, housing activist and blogger, says for Greater Christchurch’s population to reach 615,000 people – considerably more than Wellington – the city will need 46,000 new homes by 2030. This would mean building homes at a much higher rate than seen in the past decade.
New housing out of the city will form a wide corridor between Lincoln/Rolleston and Rangiora/Pegasus. Residents using motorways will not have alternatives when roads become congested. But within Christchurch residents will have access to the cycleways and fast buses on bus lanes.
Like the council, Harre believes residents will be attracted to a fast-filling city centre but warns the city will see a net loss of residents to Australia.
“I would like a productive city competing against other Australasian cities, a fair city so young and low-income earners do not face crippling housing and transport costs. Christchurch needs to change its business-as-usual approach because that will not achieve the outcomes the city wants.”
CLIMATE CHANGE AND SOCIETAL UNREST
Climatically, Christchurch “will be different” says Councillor Sara Templeton, who chairs the council committee responsible for climate change. By 2030 there will be a greater frequency of hotter weather and heavy rainfall. The city needs to adapt and lower its carbon emissions.
In 2017, Christchurch residents were emitting about 7 tonnes of carbon each. The council wants this number halved by 2030.
Templeton says halving emissions in 10 years is a “really big ask” but she hopes people will break it down into smaller achievable chunks.
She says simple actions, such as not throwing away as much food or buying second-hand items can help lower waste emissions, which account for 9 per cent of the city’s overall emissions.
Bailey Peryman, social entrepreneur, urban ecologist, and a director of urban farm enterprise Cultivate Christchurch thinks Christchurch will be unrecognisable in 2030. “We’ve only got to look back to 2010 to see how much it’s changed and, sure, the earthquakes played a massive role but I think change is in our DNA now.”
He says the city is getting good at facing big challenges and will be a leader in courageous innovation, change-making and urban ecology. “We should back our imaginations and tune into what we really want.”
Unfortunately, Peryman says too many people are having to worry about where their next meal is coming from and have not had a say in the future of this city.
“I don’t think that’s the Christchurch way and whatever comes next will require a lot of healing. I’d like to see us build a prosperity that everyone’s a part of, including the wildlife that lives here too, and I think something truly special will come from this.”
John Minto. teacher, activist, 2019 mayoral challenger fears the city will by more deeply divided socially than it is in 2020 with a resurgence of union and community action, as a challenge to the rule of the wealthy. He predicts more gated communities and social conflict.
A strong self-sufficiency movement in both urban and rural communes will exist as a response to capitalism’s failure to deliver decent standards of living.
He hopes to see a city based on social and community values, flourishing tiny house communities and a rapidly developing native forest from city centre to sea.
The biggest carbon culprit is transport, which accounts for more than half (53.1 per cent) of the city’s emissions.
That number is “astronomically high” says transport planner Axel Wilke. Today’s “car-focused” society needs to be more balanced by 2030, he says, with an increase in cyclists, public transport users and electric cars.
Minto hopes the city will respond to climate change challenges by making public transport free by 2030 and forecasts this will be a huge success and a key attraction.
Simon Kingham, the Ministry of Transport Chief Science Advisor and Canterbury University professor, agrees. He also sees more autonomous cars by 2030 and more shared vehicles such as e-scooters and e-bikes, especially for those living centrally.
By 2030, all of the council’s 13 approved cycleways will be open, connecting outer suburbs, including Belfast, Hornby and New Brighton, to the central city.
Harre warns Christchurch’s roads will become chronically congested by 2030 and it will need to copy Auckland in retrofitting a multi-modal transport system into a city primarily designed for the car.
However, he hopes that by 2030 there will be a commuter rail network for Rangiora and Rolleston, and new rail suburbs should be built on unwanted industrial land in Belfast, Middleton and Opawa.
He says Christchurch needs a mass transit spatial plan – like Copenhagen’s five finger model or the tram-train network in Karlsruhe, Germany, connecting heavy rail with tracks on central city streets. Our spatial plan should include an inner rail loop connecting Riccarton to Moorhouse Ave via the hospital and bus exchange, with new lines line to the university, airport and Halswell.
Mass transit should be the spine of Christchurch’s public transport system, with fast, frequent, reliable, high capacity lines, connecting with infrastructure for buses, cycling, walking and other mobility devices.
Glen Koorey. senior transport engineer and planner, cycling advocate, and former university engineering lecturer, says while Christchurch is “a cool little city” he is skeptical that the central city population will grow at a rate likely to really add to the vibrancy of the place. He says the central city is not helped by the ongoing developments further out in greater Christchurch that continue to draw people out.
He says cycling, walking and other active modes will grow significantly as the environments for them improve and get safer, but says they are still fighting against a growing tide of motor vehicles, particularly from the outer suburbs.
The council’s climate emergency declaration should mean a stronger focus on mitigating carbon emissions. That means serious changes to reduce transport emissions, including significant investment in priority busways, rapid transit, cycleways, safe routes to schools, and speed and traffic management. Electric cars, while helping to address carbon emissions, do relatively little to improve road safety or reduce congestion.
It also means serious consideration of transport pricing, including car parking costs, public transport subsidies, and congestion charging.
Other issues to be tackled include shifting to more medium-density living (especially around neighbourhood hubs) and mixed-use land uses, to minimise longer-distance transport demand and provide economies of scale for services.
A SPECIAL KIND OF COOL
Koorey says the council should continue to invest in green corridors and plantings within neighbourhoods, urban centres, and also in or on buildings. Eliminating fossil-fuelled heating and encouraging solar and wind power and co-generation will reduce the impact of homes and industries.
Joanna Norris. chief executive of economic development and promotional agency ChristchurchNZ, says by 2030 the city’s economy will be fuelled by highly educated graduates entering jobs in high-tech and creative technologies, advanced manufacturing and future transport, agri-tech, future foods and health technology and wellbeing.
By 2030 the city will be well on the way to achieving carbon neutrality. She forecasts that housing will be affordable because supply will continue to meet demand, and average wages will have kept pace with the cost of living.
Norris says by 2030 the city will be world-famous for a special brand of Christchurch cool driven by our beautiful outdoor environment, the compassion of our people and courageous approach to solving global problems.
Evan Smith. spokesperson for AvON Vision Strategic Development & Advocacy, and the Avon-Ōtākaro Network, says he would like to see Christchurch be an inclusive place, where everyone feels welcome and at home and has the opportunity to genuinely contribute. “A place where past inequities between communities of place, interest and identity have been addressed. And a place where people have confidence in their politicians and the political processes.”
He says Christchurch will see a true partnership with mana whenua and tangata whenua, where they are clearly visible with their rich cultural heritage and influence woven seamlessly throughout the city including the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor.
A place where the indigenous ecology of Ōtautahi is returning, and is thriving and celebrated with the return of native biodiversity, cleaner rivers, restored mahinga kai values and enhanced resilience to natural hazards, particularly in the eastern corridor. No longer just a gateway to somewhere else but a stunning unique destination for domestic and international visitors – including within the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor.
Smith says Christchurch will be a place where children and young people are loved, a place they can grow into with pride, as their tūrangawaewae, and a place that our kaumatua can look upon with a nod and a smile.
A GREAT PLACE TO BE
Lianne Dalziel, Christchurch mayor, says Christchurch will be the most popular place to visit in NZ in 2030.
By then the city will be rebuilt, the green spine and Ōtākaro Avon River corridorwill be an incredible cycleway and walkway from city to the sea.
New Brighton will be a thriving beachside village. Inner city living will be very popular and the whole place will have a sense of vibrancy. The metro sports facility and stadium will be open and attracting lots of events to the city.
We will have met our carbon neutrality target as a council and the city will have reduced its carbon footprint dramatically.
Having moved into the central city, I would personally like to see free events happening that I can walk to.
Dalziels, who will be 70 in 2030, wants the city to be “a great place for teenagers, young people and people of my era and older”.
Okirano Tilaia, Cashmere High head boy 2019 and a winner in the Prime Minister’s 2019 Pacific Youth Awards, says the Christchurch of 2030 will be flourishing.
“The youth of Christchurch will be super involved in all sectors of the community and decision-making roles on city council and community boards where they will be making huge and positive impacts.”
Tilaia says he would like to see more young people leading, or in partnership with, local businesses.
He also hopes to see a Pacific hub or a place in the museum or art gallery that shows the history of our Pacific. “There is so much history between New Zealand and peoples of the Pacific peoples that I would love to continue to learn and understand, and I know more Pacific young people would also like to learn this history.”
Leeann Watson, chief executive, Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, says she expects to see a shift away from traditional farming to environmentally sustainable and family equity models, where economies of scale reduce costs and improve efficiency and margins.
She says the council will reach its carbon neutral target of 2030 with one year to spare and that by then aerospace and film making will be prospering industries.
By 2030 corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability will be common practice and organisations will care about the wellbeing of their people.
Digitised technology, automation and artificial intelligence will see a 50 per cent pick-up in productivity and per capita income growth.
Red tape will have been torn down, with the city council leading the country by enabling business, reducing burdens and compliance costs on business.
Watson says Christchurch in 2030 will be a safe, modern, compact central city with a diverse regional economy. Great new bars, restaurants, retail and major infrastructure projects will help make the central city an appealing destination.
The city’s new facilities will boost tourism, the economy and the central city.
Watson forecasts the combined population of Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri will be 575,000, with three-quarters of this in the city.