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:
- Shop fronts
- Office entrances
- 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.
- 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