Elevated Garden City – the idea

The opportunity

The 2010-11 Canterbury earthquakes are an opportunity to create something special in Christchurch.

Imagine a garden city where we took the Manhattan rooftop garden to whole new level.

Given that most people in the CBD will not want to live and work in high rises, then this new set of low rise buildings give Christchurch the opportunity to build an elevated garden/walkway space that could become one of the world’s iconic cities.

Instead of the roofs being wasted space it would be possible to make the space useful and linked with walk/cycle ways.  You could walk around the CBD without ever crossing a road. Visitors landing in our fair city would look down on roofs of pure green. With new sustainable, energy-conscious buildings we would become the greenest city in New Zealand inside and outside.

The roof space could be used for:

  • Parks
  • Cafes/Bars
  • Shop fronts
  • Office entrances
  • Playgrounds
  • Court yards
  • Sports areas
  • Iconic wooden bridge designs
  • Slopes from other public spaces could go up the elevated gardens
  • Not all space has to be public could be office BBQareas etc
  • Taller buildings that look out over the gardens
  • Bird sanctuary – (no rats or cats)
  • Native forest – Riccarton park (maybe turn Latimer square into this?)
  • Bike hire scheme
  • Lots of other creative things

How it will work from a planning point of view

  • Every new building has to have half (or 1/3 or 2/3) of the second or third floor dedicated as open space
  • The council will create a network of linked walk/cycleways connecting the second or third floor roof spaces
  • This will be a relatively simple set of rules that would allow building owners/architects lots of flexibility and creative options.
  • Could start small in the centre initially but could grow long term to take in all 4 avenues.

Advantages

  • Relatively low cost way to create a city that could become an iconic world destinations for tourists and creative people
  • Every building has an extra elevated street frontage
  • Ability to do something a bit different with each property depending on if it is housing, office, cafe, retail etc – creative options for all buildings.
  • There will be vastly more useful space in CBD not just dead roof space!
  • Can still use relatively inexpensive building techniques but create something dramatically different and unique when linked together
  • Easy to get started and can expand over time
  • People will be able to walk and bike around without cars in an easy, safe way – will probably be the preferred way to get around town on short journeys
  • Building interfaces will be standardized sothe bridges can be relatively inexpensive – only foot and bike traffic
  • Still has possibility for good urban density – backyard on roof as the concept expands to the out skirts of four avenues
  • Very simple set of planning rules that still allows lots of room for creativity but ties the city together in a distinctive iconic way

Concept images

375 Responses to Elevated Garden City – the idea

  1. Kevin King says:

    You need to check out the plague on the ground in front of the Cathedral to discover that I am right.

  2. Shane Heenan says:

    We live not far from ‘Bracknell’ in the UK. It was a ‘pop-up’ city that was erected in a hurry to house people after the war.

    Today, it’s horrific. All of the buildings have aged badly due to their rushed box like design. The demographics have declined in a similar way, now making Bracknell the sort of town that people avoid.

    If Christchurch is to recover they need to balance the need for quick building of infrastructure with the long term sustainability of keeping those ‘pop-up’ buildings from turning the inner city into a dead zone.

    The big advantage of this is that cost efficient box buildings would support a concept that would not age nearly as quickly as pure buildings would.

    Top idea!

  3. Nickels says:

    *like!

  4. Nickels says:

    I think this is a great concept that holds a lot of practical weight and should certainly be fully explored. When I read your blog it’s more of a random thought thrown about haphazardly with little justification or conceptualization behind. Maybe build a little more thoroughly on your chatter and see if you can come up with something worth the debate.

  5. Steffen says:

    I think this is a great idea guys. It has a lot of advantages. I have always been one for closing the central city off to car traffic but this is much better. It keeps everyone happy. Pedestrians are away from cars but cars still have access to the CBD. And I don’t think there’s a single person who would mind the central city being a greener space.
    While you’re at it, I’d like to put in that it has been a major design flaw in Christchurch’s traffic ways that cycling tracks are part of the road (this is also an issue outside the CBD). Cyclists should have a dedicated track as part of the sidewalk as this way cyclists don’t get in the way of cars and busses and there is a smaller risk of being overrun.

    Good luck with this project! It’s in all of our interests that it succeeds! Let’s get something positive out of this mess and make Christchurch a better city than it was before!

  6. Olivia says:

    Love this idea!! What an amazing concept.

  7. Corinne says:

    West of the airport you get into the Waimak. flood zone – another natural hazard. Sure, you could engineer for that with flood protection barriers but this would be at massive cost.
    No, look elsewhere again.
    I like the idea of moving the CBD though, or at least having a satellite business district.

  8. Liz says:

    With Christchurch’s beautiful sunsets this could create a really magical city. I fully support the idea of rebuilding Christchurch in a unique and sustainable way.

  9. RoseMary says:

    I visited Chch last August and really liked it particularly the charming brick 2 storey 1920’s and 1930’s shop fronts which proved so dangerous.

    Here is a link to an existing Green bridge, complete with trees, in London over the Mile End Road http://www.bridges.mottmac.com/bridgeprojects/specialistprojects/thegreenbridge/
    hope this is informative.
    I am broadly in favour of a green city but I am concerned about access for people with less mobility to multi level sites. There are outdoor moving staircases in Barcelona (after they hosted the Olympics?) but I think their climate is drier than Chch (or London) and of course there will be energy costs for them – unless they are solar powered from the remaining roofs? (They will be mainly used in daylight.)
    Also as many posters have said there is the issue of wind – in general hedges are better at defusing wind as walls tend to create turbulence which can be worse. I guess there will need to be clever calculations with models to prevent the ground levels becoming wind tunnels (we have plenty in London – Tottenham Court Road for example). Plant trees at ground level.

    And the retail model for many shps and cafes would need to be different from before to encourage footfall at all levels; as it is the right level of footfall that keeps an area safe and commerically sucessful.

  10. VictoriaB says:

    How very exciting! Brilliant ideas. Great discussions. I agree with most of the posts and the few I don’t agree with are still brilliant because they provoke and sustain interest in this most audacious, yet obviously sensible idea!
    I loved the old Chch and I mourn its demise. I would welcome the new Chch and the link between the two are the people of Christchurch, Canterbury and New Zealand.
    My only worry is the habit our generation has of rewriting the past in an image we like now. Please go carefully. Maintain and honour the history of this place.

  11. Fantastic idea, really refreshing that great ideas are starting to emerge on how we can rebuild Christchurch to be a modern clean green city.

  12. Steve says:

    “Moving the CBD – to where exactly?”

    Other side of the airport.

  13. Scott says:

    I love the idea. Napier rebuilt in a novel way and is one of about three or four art deco places in the world. Christchurch could easily do the same with this as a well thought out plan. Osaka, also in shaky Japan, achieved a roof garden at multiple levels with its Nanba Parks building. Check out the link . It could easily be applied to low-level buildings in Christchurch’s CBD.

  14. Andrew Hardy says:

    I definately agree and back the concept. Christchurch could use this as a international icon and also put the South Island of New Zealand back on the radar for tourism which could in turn bring our tourism industry back to its prime over an “extended period of time”.

    This concept also allows the government the ability to focus more on the safety of the Christchurch citizens – saving ginormous amounts of financing on common day engineering (that we use today) using a simplified yet effective concept such as the one displayed will allow more money to go into “Earthquake-Proofing”, “Deminished risk of fires by the use of Solar-Energy practices that are currently being developed”, and I could think of hundreds more benefits to this.

    Great work on the Elevated Garden City, definately need to fire this idea to the powers that be. Why stick to conventional practices when we’re KIWI’s – We need to carry on the Kiwi Ingenuity trait.

  15. Anna says:

    I really love this idea. It looks fantastic.

  16. Lena says:

    This looks awesome and alot of job opportunity their for people as well. May be it is time for a new city for Christchurch .
    Something to look forward to so good to all involved in this plan

  17. Layton says:

    no need to be a negative nancy.

  18. Charli says:

    I have always dreamed of the city heights being more utilised, especially with edible community gardens and the opportunity to dance under the stars! I think its a great idea.

  19. Layton says:

    *like

  20. Alan says:

    I love the idea. I’m also an engineer and being given a design brief like this would make for great job satisfaction. However having been a part of the recovery effort so far I just can’t see how you and others can make this happen in the fragmented owner, insurance, council, and legislative environment that exists.

  21. Charli says:

    Love It!

  22. Jenny says:

    Some fantastic ideas, I’ve really enjoyed reading them!! I think I prefer a garden concept mostly at ground level, but I’m sure whatever is created will be built with love and care. To help restore the CBD, you need to encourage more people to use it. A previous suggestion of having more residential accomodation is great, also shaping the city in meandering curves, rather than in a grid pattern could be more welcoming. How about a lake?

    Christchurch is ideal to cycle around, from commuting to visiting friends/family, shopping, tourists, students… Concepts already in practice by other countries (such as Holland) could be used, but further developed to come up with our own unique “Kiwi” factor. Here is a link to a rather long, but interesting article on how several European countries have successfully helped cycling to become the vehicle of choice. http://www.policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/pucher/Irresistible.pdf

  23. Phil says:

    I have a roof garden …its a wonderful idea for the city.
    There are practical problems of course, easterlies, weight and…retail foot traffic.
    These can all be overcome by DESIGN.
    I think the concept as shown so far is too 2-dimensional..ie.flat.
    The solution is to mix it up. The garden levels should not be all on the same elevation. Some would be at street level, some at first floor height, some on higher levels. Retail can be at higher levels also, not just at street level. Cafes, restaurants, theatres can be set amongst the garden levels.
    There is great scope for creating an exciting, innovative and and eco-nomic urban landscape.
    We should take this opportunity, this is a GIFT.

  24. Bryce says:

    3 months a year that have an average high over 20 degrees, im not saying its a bad idea but can we please actually think about the point of having rooftops with grass and bridges randomly connecting them. Case and point is our now useless stadium, too large, uncovered for when it is used WINTER, exposed to easterly and southerly… it may look pretty but is useless in a practical sense.

    I think the idea of utilizing rooftops is great, but maybe more in terms for application on high density residential but not the entire CBD.

    Personally i would love the see the CDB reduced in size, core emphasis on using the river, existing parks, key cultural and heritage sites, all linked with wide pedestrian, tram and cycle tree lined boulevards. High density commercial with open low density retail and leafy large section residential areas taking over the redundant outer CBD.

  25. Molly says:

    I was inspired by the green walkways, corridors, bridges and overpasses linking various urban centres in Singapore – see above website. You move from one part of the city to another without cars, incorporating parks and views (and oportunities for great architecture). I love the city roof garden idea and wonder if some of Singapore’s ideas about access to them could be incorporated here to make the centre more vibrant and more cycle / pedestrian friendly?

  26. Jason says:

    Great idea, I hope the people who make the re-build decisions have the vision and passion to build a innovative unique innercity playground! Surely would bring in the tourists again!

  27. John Marshall says:

    Wow! Trust you Kiwis to come up with a brilliant solution! Cities need to be liveable but also financially viable. This offers the chance to be both. People will want to come into the CBD to work and play if good design and beauty is all about.
    Rationalise the street system too, ban private vehicles where possible, expand on the tourist tram by putting in a contemporary light rail system to whisk tourists from the airport into your beautiful CBD Garden. Green transport into a green city. Wonderful!

  28. Matt says:

    The weight shouldn’t be a huge problem. Many buildings already have swimming pools on rooftops

  29. Paul Holland says:

    The concept is brilliant and many people have added excellent suggestions, critiques and noted points of concern. This is a conversation that needs to be carried on and given greater publicity. It also needs to be made known to the city councilors and the government since those two bodies will be in charge of the rebuild. It will need strong support. We in Canterbury have the guts and wherewithal to pull this off.

    For engineering we have very highly internationally regarded Geo-engineering expertise at the University of Canterbury. The university also has many other personnel equally highly respected in their fields who could be used in this project. As mentioned in other posts we have highly regarded architects amongst many other professionals.

    My suggestion is to spread this around in your social networking sites, show it to friends, relations, anybody you can think of. Every little bit helps and if there is a significant groundswell of public support for this then there is a chance of getting a hearing from the powers that be.

  30. Dazza says:

    Definitely, but not far enough above sea level.
    The cathedral Floor is only 6.2m – the low water table has always been an issue in canterbury

  31. Paul Holland says:

    Two comments. If you want to criticise the idea fine, but constructive criticism would be appreciated. Secondly, define the “the people who know what they’re doing.”

  32. mrx_ruz says:

    Fantastic idea, even if only a small component was used – a great selling point for the city.

    I think one of the things which would need to be added to the design is the restriction of certain areas at night to keep a lid on any trouble. Perhaps allowing access from dawn to dust or having the areas very well lit.

    Great to see some positive & creative ideas – its the good old kiwi can do attitude.

  33. Bob says:

    Great idea but can we rebuild safely in the city centre ?

  34. Great starting point. My only suggestion to improve the concept (in my opinion anyway) would be that any rebuild of Christchurch is not based on a property by property basis as it has been in the past. A more integrated approach to development needs to be undertaken where optimal placement of amenities and infrastructure is considered first rather than just rebuilding over what was there. This may involve realignment of streets, maybe even see some streets disappear altogether. Owners of individual properties should be encouraged to form ownership co-operatives to allow construction over a larger area, which should surely also offer some economies of scale in the long run and thus allow better returns than if they were building their own building on their own property. The layering of the city could be structured in such a way that there was a progressional heirarchy as you ascended the city.

    The existing street level could remain the primary circulation route with nice wide avenues providing access to large below ground car parking lots, bus, tram and rail stations. In general public vehicular access could be limited to this level, which would also be shared with the most utilitarian users who have no need for either sun or views. The next level up could be occupied by those public users who require foot traffic, but again are not totally dependent on sun or views, such as you would find in a traditional mall, or large office spaces, sun could be brought into this level through clever use of roof lights, voids, etc. This level would have roof gardens above to create a park like atmosphere amongst which would be located the cafes, boutiques, hotels and apartments. This way rather than a series of interconnected roofspaces, and all its inherent difficulties you would end up with a layered cityscape resembling something more akin to a rolling hillside (on a conceptual level of course), with voids and pathways, pockets and promenades amongst which to enjoy the city.

    Vehicular access to higher levels could be provided by either ramps or vehicle lifts to permitted vehicles during resticted hours to allow stocking of stores, etc, or alternatively central distribution points be located throughout the city to allow delivery of goods to and from stores. This layout could also facilitate a state of the art light transit system to deliver people around the city once they have parked their car (if they actually now need a car to go about their day to day business)

    The fringes of this development adjacent to the river, etc would cascade down to the ground level providing 2 – 3 levels of prime positioning around the perimeter.

    This rebuild requires that we cast aside the constraints of our perceptions of what a new city will look like and seek to build the city as though we were just starting out now. Christchurch is now poised to rise again as one of the great cities of the modern world, but to acheive this will require the courage to look to the future and the strength not to look back.

    Kia Kaha Christchurch, we all know you can do it.

  35. ken milsom says:

    Great idea.But it would probably take 100 years to build ?

  36. Daniel says:

    Um, how do you plan on growing trees that big on a roof..?

  37. mary says:

    What a beautiful idea. It makes the fact of Christchurch being known as a garden city, into an even more iconic theme. It would be interesting to weave various uniquely New Zealand threads into it; such as native plants, Maori carvings and perhaps even linking the port hills tundra and scenery into it.

  38. Jane says:

    I agree with your comment of making the ground level as beautiful as the elevated leve, if fact why not have multiple levels so you gradually get higher rather than a single jump of 2-3 stories high which will shade the lower street.

  39. Jane says:

    I love the monorail idea, for a laugh we could adapt the old tram stock to run on it too.

  40. Jane says:

    Linking a green heart like this to the suburbs with green corridors will help people make the entire journey on their bicycles. I have spent 6 months in The Netherlands and I was totally blown away by the cycle infrastructure and how it is considered the highest form of transport. All cars and pedestrians, give way to cyclists, even when coming off a round about. It was absolutely no effort to cycle 30 min across town to meet your friends because you didn’t have to worry so much about cars.

    I have two small concerns about the elevated garden idea, one was mentioned earlier about wind and the other is the control of building services.

    Building structures off the ground would have to be engineered with wind flow in mind to reduce noise. There can be some strange and unpredictable results where in certain wind directions something will vibrate causing unpleasant noises.

    Building services have traditionally been put on the roof, out of sight, out of mind, and are typically very untidy. A stagey of screening existing services and integrating new ones into the garden would have to be thought through as part of the detailed design stage.

  41. Gary says:

    If this is going to be seriously looked at, then the guy from ‘cradle2cradle’ should probably be consulted.

    There could be certain aspects of planning/power saving etc that could be capitalised on.

    If not for gardens, then the roof space should be used for something forward thinking, solar panels for new buildings, windmills, that sort of thing, something that makes environmental sense. NZ loves to harp on about its ‘clean green’ image. Which I suspect is only a result of having a large country with just about nobody in it.

  42. Alex says:

    Exactly what I have been saying! This is a chance to make Christchurch something even more incredible. If done with elegance and style, this could be like a reimagined Venice.

  43. Alison says:

    Great concept.
    Would also like about 5 x 5 blocks of limited car access – have a carpark in each corner with service lanes with 5 min loading zonesif you need to pick something up. Parking car gives free ticket for electric tram (Example of this in France)- Have curves in streets with trees to limit the affect of the nor-easter. Also wish we could limit industries such as banks, insurance companies to second floor space with small street frontage for access as they don’t add to the city experience.

  44. Bernard says:

    What a great idea. I wonder if the people who need to come together and agree to make this happen have the courage to do that? It would really be something special after what’s happened here.

  45. Bernard says:

    I agree. Walking through your city connects you to it far more then you ever could by driving and, trying to find a park. Not enough people walk anyway, and those that can’t be bothered can use trams.

  46. Jane says:

    As Richard said earlier,
    We are the powers to be, don’t wait for someone else to build concrete boxes.

  47. Bernard says:

    Couple of months? There’s way more good weather in Christchurch then that. it is worth thinking about what can be done to make these spaces useful and enjoyable during the colder months too though.

  48. Malcolm says:

    Can’t rebuild the past so build a new future. Brilliant. And make the bike and run course as long as Ironman. Makes the training easier! Seriously though a great idea.

  49. GF says:

    Well thought out suggestions here. Especially in regards to the Christchurch of your youth. It is important to make the ground level equally special, and also on a whole, capture both the history and rebirth of Christchurch. It’s important that in the future those who want to, can come to our city and see or “read” the city’s history in its architecture and design.

  50. I believe this to be a great and ingenious idea.
    How ever like many have commented about the weather issues, why not have a specific part of the roof top concrete or something between the paths?
    And maybe if there is stories above this area to keep the path on top covered and sheltered with glass, this would make it viable option to move around in all weather not to mention the paths between the buildings to be covered as well.

    Another issue mentioned was the traffic, like someone mentioned above a monorail is perfect for this type of design, not to mention solve our normal transportation issues about moving around the city.
    Just some food for thought.

  51. russell says:

    i like the ideas i seen it in other countries but they have pools and gyms and like these ones parks on top of roof looking over the beautiful city but over there was sea

  52. Hayane Bragança says:

    I just love the idea! I am from Brazil and I have been to Chch twice, and I would definitely return to this gorgeous city again. Hope this idea goes further!

  53. GF says:

    Brilliant, forward thinking (instead of backwards looking) idea. This type of thing if done correctly will liken Christchurch to places such as Vienna in terms of it’s uniqueness. We call it the garden city so why not make use of the “dead roof space” and bring more life and activity to the city like this with usable roof top gardens. Great suggestion.

  54. Chris Stoneman says:

    I am an oldie. The Christchurch of my youth in the 1950’s and 60’s which seemed so enduring and was so much loved, has disappeared in 20 seconds.

    I support the concept of an elevated city, however would like to be confident of a balance at ground level to ensure it does not become an overshadowed ghetto of rushing traffic and dark unattractive spaces. This would only create an artificial elevated ground level leaving the real ground level as an area to avoid for a whole range of reasons. Please may the actual ground level be equally attractive and interesting as the elevated level; different perhaps, but just as rewarding to visit, shop or live in.

    The CBD needs to thrive as never before, and an elevated city without high rise would certainly be an attractive option.

    A wide variety of residential living space across a broad spectrum is essential to encourage business opportunities at all levels, and a vibrant, humming community, attractive as an international destination and a place that residents can be proud to display to the world, while enjoying the experience of living in such a unique environment.

    It is also important to respect and rebuild the past – with interesting and innovative architectural concepts to preserve parts of destroyed Christchurch into new and accessible places of surprising and enduring interest.

    The underground and all supporting infrastructure has to be a given for such a scheme to succeed.

    Should we be subjected to another earthquake, the new Christchurch must be able to resist great damage and loss of life so we don’t have to experience anything like this recent tragedy again.

    Thank you for your ideas and concepts for a new and exciting city!

  55. daryl says:

    Great idea!

  56. Bryce says:

    cool, but how will these fair in winter, exposed rooftops? we only get a couple of months where its nice enough to sit outside. also, whats the plan on how they would interact, do they feed to key locations or just loop? nice idea though

  57. Chris Lawrence says:

    AWESOME! Brilliant concept… surely kiwi ingenuity can make this happen! Lets get amongst it folks… crack on!

  58. Richard says:

    Agree. Anyone have the technical wherewithal to create an open-source, recreate Christchurch site?

  59. Richard says:

    Good idea. We could incorporate manure from all the dairy farms.

  60. Richard says:

    The Lyttelton and Akaroa volcanoes are well and truly extinct.

  61. Nick says:

    TURN SYDENHAM INTO RESIDENTIAL NOT COMMERCIAL.

  62. Christine Diamond says:

    Really interesting idea. I also think that Christchurch should instigate an international design competition and thus avail itself of the most innovative and creative designers and architects who are working around the world today.

  63. Kirsty McGregor says:

    Definitely an interesting idea. Something new and totally different. It could really put chch on the world map and create something beautiful and innovative out of tragedy and destruction. It gets my vote.

  64. Ange Wadsworth says:

    This is a wonderful idea. I’m training to be a garden designer, and I’m also passionate about sustainability and creating green built environments. This is our future!

  65. Ashleigh says:

    My husband works in the CBD (highrise) – I am a mum, so loved going into the city with the kids to meet Dad for lunch every now and then, and the atmosphere for shopping was so much nicer than the malls! I really don’t think this idea is practical – who wants to be on a roof in a NW wind, with no shade in summer, then freezing the rest of the year? Plus am thinking of kids climbing on the low fences! I think you would loose the whole atmosphere with shopping if the cafes are way up on the roofs and the shops bellow. I think some rooftop gardens would be great, but focus on street level! Would love to see 3 story high bulidings built to look old. Would be a great chance to add trams and bike lanes! This would also be a great opportunity to revitalize the Sydenham end of town.

  66. AH says:

    And 6 or 7 Sydney-type “above road” Monorail units from the Suburbs to complement, & also help relieve burgeoning traffic congestion?

  67. Richard says:

    I think the important thing is not to wait for the powers that be to give their approval from on high, but for people to collectively just start sharing their own ideas and getting them out there and people will naturally have to pay attention.

  68. Scotty says:

    How does one maintain this. Knowing the council they will over plant hundreds of over sized and inappropriate specimens which clash, and give no unity. Then it all has to be maintained, you can’t drive a truck onto the roof. So how do you even get the tonnes of soil onto the roof and spread cheaply? Then the trees on the roof. Dwarfed ones in planters on specially reinforced roof section maybe. And the mowers are over a 1000Kg. In fact the CDB would be constantly exposed to the noise and hazard of movers moving around. And in winter when it’s too wet to mow, esp. on slopes then the grass will be a foot high. Try walking in that when it’s wet

    And where are the roads to get the shoppers into the area, or deliveries to the shops, or emergency vehicle access? Or the landmarks to navigate by. And roads mean sewer and water and phone and power networks too.

    I agree with the people who say this is not a sustainable CBD model. If you don’t want mass business/retail (inclu. customers) in the CBD, but you want green space then just turn it into a ground level park.

  69. Pascale says:

    Brilliant! This is such a great idea!
    Also, someone just mentioned another fabulous idea to me tonight that encapsulates the unity of today’s memorial service – having the newly built cathedral become a holy spot for ALL of Christchurch’s faiths. Unity in diversity, it’s a beautifully progressive thing 😉

  70. David says:

    How about if Chch gave up on its grid pattern? This is dictated by traffic, but our CBD could be made to be free from all traffic – barring bicycles and pedestrians, with perhaps a (functional) tramway flowing through it. Both of these can move freely and will better enjoy a landscaped parkland that is not linear or grid-like in its layout. Pathways could wind through the city, as the Avon river does, with lots of trees like Portland, Oregon. The city could then be made to blend into one of our greatest assets: Hagley Park – and truly become the Garden City that it is meant to be.
    Christchurch has prospect to be a great venue for international conferences, with delegates enjoying being able to walk from their hotels to their conference venues, safely and pleasantly through parks, beside cafes and buskers, in the shade of trees.
    This would also be a pleasant environment for universities, schools, colleges and other training institutions, that could serve to make Chch an iconic international venue of learning.
    The city’s heritage of stonework could be retained safely as facades to bridges, walkways, paving, benches, planter boxes, etc, combined with far greater use of warm wood for safety and sustainability.

  71. Taylor Harris says:

    Hey I’ve lived in Christchurch all 18 years of my life and i love the idea. At first when i heard people talking about rebuilding Christchurch as a low rise city i didn’t like the idea. But seeing this Ive come around to the idea and id love to see this happen only question though is what about the tree roots wouldn’t it cause the building to become weekend by the roots? As the trees grow?

  72. Teal says:

    Some sort of drainage system to prevent moisture from flooding off the roof and on to the street… How about the spouting systems that most (all) buildings have today?

    We could take this one step further and have the spouting feed water back up into the garden as irrigation or feed it into a purification plant to provide more drinking water.

  73. Derek says:

    This is the best idea I have heard in a long time, the world is just waking up to the benefits of green roof’s, we are in the prime position to show the rest of the world we are smart and innovative, hopefully the city leaders show a little vision when it comes time for planning this city’s new heart.

  74. JB says:

    Impressed. No idea is a bad idea. There could be potential here ?

  75. Kieran Fanning says:

    Shop frontages could come out onto the roof space?
    i.e shops could be given a certain area on top of the building that they are allowed to build a lift/stairwell entrance. like the ones going into the carpark in front of the arts gallery but more welcoming.

  76. Paul says:

    Awesome idea. Would love to see something like this implemented, provided it is both economically feasible and won’t crumble when we get earthquakes.

  77. Mel says:

    Love the idea. We left Christchurch last year but will be back to live if something like this is designed. Particularly keen on the idea of safe cycle ways and something unique that will draw the tourists. Please please make sure that this opportunity to do something magnificant with our wonderful city is wasted.

  78. Steve says:

    I love the idea… Certainly it would put chch on the international map, and it’s the kind of Utopian, clean, green image that many tourists are disappointed to not find here already!

    The fly in the ointment though is that if all the foot traffic is milling around the elevated gardens, can the businesses at street level survive?

  79. Laura says:

    Nice idea! This reminds me of Hundertwasser’s model of the “Meadow Hills”

  80. Kieran Fanning says:

    Brilliant idea,
    Great chance to create a greener city (Color and technologically-wise).
    Extra green space will clear up the air around the CBD (and, to a lesser extent, all of Christchurch) and the roof space could be used to support solar and wind technologies. (i.e lighting could be powered by solar panels installed in the shelters covering park benches)
    I would imagine wind could potentially become a problem as there would be little tall bulding around to buffer it, but this could be countered by something like a ‘shutter’ mechanism. You could have all the buildings controlled by a main weather station that measures wind direction, and then sends out this signal to each building which mechanically opens and closes the corrosponding sides shutters (Which could be made out of a lovely looking stained native wood) to buffer the wind.
    Probably a bit far fetched but I’m just putting it out there to ignite ideas.
    I think also originally people would not be happy about being up higher than they have to, but once they realise that modern buildings built to our current building standards and higher have the ability to shrug large earthquakes off without major damage, I think they could be swayed.
    Also I think it would be a good idea to involve the youthh alot in the planning, as this will largley be built for them and the subsequent generations to enjoy.

  81. Sue says:

    What a neat idea, and really cool to see such a positive range of comments. I Love Christchurch.

  82. Daniel Spinks says:

    This Concept is BRILLIANT! Reading all the comments and things people have already suggested it’s easy to see that this is possible if a Leader has the Vision to explore it. If you look at what has been achieved towards this concept already in just a few days, imagine what would happen if the Government put the CHCH CBD up for tender to the world market? To scientist, Engineers, Architects etc to go away and come back with something along these lines?
    The possibilities are endless! We could even look to other countries or international organisations For funding towards the short term research and Development as much like NZ was the Guinea Pig for EFTPOS (International banks paid for everything) we could be the Guinea Pig for an ECO-City.

    Its not very often you get to re-build a city from the ground up! to re-build the status quo would be a crying shame and a mammoth mistake!

    I truly hope this idea is taken as far as it can be! Well done for your vision and action!

  83. Vicki Irons says:

    I think that this idea is very innovative and the support and comments posted so far are very constructive and enthusiastic!

    One thing that I have to point out is that Christchurch is known for its very cold easterly wind. To me any roof top cafes/bars occupying the roof space, along with walkers/cyclists will be extrememly susceptible to the extremes of weather that we can get in Christchurch. I am sure that there will be some things that can be done to minimise this, but thought I would just put it out there to keep in consideration.

    Keep up the initiative!!

  84. Daniel Spinks says:

    “He who has no vision for the small things also blinds himself to the greater design.” …

  85. Steve says:

    creatively brilliant… but if we have a low-rise cbd we’ll need to accomodate the lost commercial space elsewhere. why not have a second cbd to the west of hei hei. rolleston has already established itself as a significant satellite, so a rolleston / lincoln friendly cbd will attract both business and talent.

  86. Milan says:

    Brilliant idea. Great to see people thinking hard about the future of our city.

    I saw similar projects with my own eyes last year in both Chicago and NYC. Thought they were fantastic. Something like this implemented into our own cities centre could be the right thing for regeneration. Im looking to champion anything that helps brings 10s of thousands of residents into the Four Avenue.

    btw, I, for one certainly dont mind the idea of highrise returning to the cbd, I live and work a few floors off the ground and I am happy to continue doing so.

  87. Mat says:

    What a ridiculous idea. Leave it to the people who know what they’re doing.

  88. steve says:

    Were you working in a high rise when the earthquake struck? Are you working in 1 presently?

    I am 1 of the ones that until the shakes stop don’t want to spend any time in high rise buildings. This is common amongst the persons I work with.

    Forget about ‘imagining’ new high rise buildings here.Look at the reality of what has happened…devastation.

    It’s safe because it’s been green stickered…and the engineer’s seen it…yeah right

  89. Rachael says:

    I think its a fabulous idea! I think no matter what we do though, we should avoid high rise buildings, large concrete structures, and adapt the EQC ideas more than ever (such as fastening cabinets, tvs, cupboards etc and using locks on cabinets doors so the force of movement doesnt throw the contents out). Maybe we could build steel drums in each building or public space with emergency items. I honestly dont think this is the end of the disasters, I believe there is more to come. So now is the time MORE THAN EVER, to create safe spaces, evacuation plans.

    Also another question: Where will we accommodate the tourists?

    But fantastic idea…very modern and exciting. Go CANTERBURY!

  90. steve says:

    add something constructive. What do you reckon should /coould happen?

  91. steve says:

    you are a sad man

  92. steve says:

    Someone could come up with a movable transparent, light weight roof that could shield out bad weather and the sun’s harmful rays…something like those removable sun roofs in cars but better!

  93. deborah Francis says:

    Love the idea, I think we should keep the lawyers, accountants etc who seemed to swamp the city out in the business parks that they have now moved to. I think we should take the opportunity to keep cars out of the CBD as well and have a mono rail system like Sydney. There sould be areas where people can park their cars and do what you do in Disneyland . It means tourists and the public have access to your faboulous gardens quickly and efficiently. Have the city centre full fo wonderful cafes and bars and make it the hub of Christchurch. The key is the mono rail, it would service the business parks as well as the city centre .
    Debbie

  94. steve says:

    it doesn’t sound like you work in 1 of those Christchurch high rise buildings. I do, and I can tell you its unnerving. Until those shakes stop, up is not forward!

  95. Phil says:

    With so much grief and sadness, there has come a rare opportunity to rebuild almost an entire city in a way that those who perished, those who survived and those who watched in horror from afar can be proud of. I left Christchurch 9 years ago but my heart is still with my home town. I would be so very proud to see this sort of idea take shape and transform my home city into a true utopia.

  96. Josh says:

    Interesting concept. I really like the idea of utilising this currently wasted space. My only thought is that in times of heavy and intense rainfall or snow, because the roof tops are completely flat and because the water will be absorbed for longer periods due to the characteristics of the roof surface, would they be able to cope with the added weight and moisture? I guess some sort of drainage system would need to be installed to make sure we do not have the issue of flooding of the building roofs and then a flow on effect of this overflowing from the roofs to the streets below.

  97. Dave says:

    Just need to mow in a nor-wester John. No catcher and no clippings. 🙂

  98. veronica says:

    I’m for it theres lots of interest in alternative architecture and with the chance to rebuild it could all be done on an eco theme, either recycled materials or sustainable types, making a truely green city. would need to get the trams running from the suberbs though and take away the necessity for people to use cars.

Leave a Reply