Grant shared the Elevated Garden City with me over the phone last week. It immediately sounded pretty cool.
In my past professional life I graduated from Canterbury Uni with an hons degree in Geography, and then spent the first 8 years of my working life making maps with fancy GIS software which cost $100k and required arcane knowledge of cryptic commands and codes to achieve what my mother can now achieve in 3 clicks on Google Maps.
Even though I have since been distracted by the Internet, and spent most of the last 12 years building virtual spaces on the Internet, I still have a passion for real spatial and visual information, and Christchurch is my home town, so I was happy to get involved.
We agreed to build a website to try to communicate the idea more clearly and also to give us a place where the idea could be discussed and expanded on. Grant registered the domain, and I set up the site. At this stage my thoughts are very similar to Grant’s but they are probably worth sharing.
My vision of the Elevated Garden City (at the moment at least!) is:
- Replace demolished buildings with 2 or 3 story buildings that have office space on the lower floors and retail space on the top level.
- Connect the buildings at the upper levels (above road level at least) with walkways so that people can move between buildings easily without having to descend, which leaves the traffic flow below unimpeded by pedestrians and vice versa.
- The buildings would have flat roofs that could be developed into or incorporate “elevated garden” spaces. These green spaces could be incorporated into upper level (or even down into the lower level to create a courtyard or similar) or could just be a retreat at the top level (eg: BBQ/Picnic area).
- I also could see that the flat roofs and/or other surrounding roofs could be used for solar and water collection to feed the buildings below.
- In addition solar light collectors could be installed on the roofs to provide sunlight into the office spaces below.
Particularly the bit about the “Mountain Dwellings” development (as featured on the still from the video above).
As terrible as the devastation has been in Christchurch it excites me to be thinking about the future and how we can rebuild out beloved city.
I look forward to hearing other peoples thoughts.