CHCH Conversations

Posted 19 Aug 2012 by FutureChChDesign Popular
Posted in Events , Rebuild , Education



WHEN: 31 AUGUST 2012


08:30 Innovation Economics by Alex Haryowiseno 
10:00 A Green Economy by David Wong (PDF INTRO)
11:30 Housing Economy by Biran He 
12:30 Lunch
13:30 Creating Creative Christchurch 
15:00 Creating an Experience Economy 
16:30 Transportation: Towards an Efficient Economy 
18:00 Prototype City 

The building is on the corner of High St. and St Asaph, the entrance is on the High St. Side behind the wire fence opposite the former Groovy Glasses, there will be a sign on the door.

Chris Barton – Journalist with the New Zealand Herald

Camia Young – Tutor at the University of Auckland School of Architecture

Invited Guests:
To be included

A group of six thesis students from the University of Auckland’s School of Architecture have pooled their individual thesis and are engaging in a collective design project for the future rebuild of Christchurch. The aim of the group is to develop a strategic urban plan for Christchurch starting with economic research and teasing out possible catalysts for growth. Each student is researching a unique economy in Christchurch, and from their investigations they have derived an urban strategy to stimulate investment in the city. There is a strong overlap between the individual projects, recognizing that economies are not independent from one another, rather they intimately coexist.

The brief for this project stemmed from two critiques on the Christchurch Central City Draft Plan, which was developed in a six-month period after the February 2011 earthquakes. During the consultation phase an International Speaker Series was held and the invited guests were asked to critique the plan. The general consensus was two fold, that the plan was limited in scope due to the mandate to look only at the CBD, and it lacked a financial strategy to realize the plan. It was from these critiques that we established the aim for this group project, which would be to consider the entire Christchurch legal boundary and any factors affecting it, i.e. regionally, nationally and globally. As well the group is using research into different local economies to find drivers for their proposed urban strategies, the aim of which is to identify viable investments that could work as catalysts for stimulating the economy. The recent release of the CCDU Blueprint underscores the importance of taking the economy into consideration, while the students have arrived at different proposals the intention to foster a healthy economy is a shared goal.

Further to these two critique, I have my own reflections on master planning, after having worked on a handful of master plans and visited several large scale urban projects, my sense is that the newer planned cities or parts of cities tend to appear contrived and lack character. I have often wonder what is missing and how to resolve this. The places I love, for example old European streets and plazas and other seemingly ‘unplanned’ places, have a quality of space that is missing in newer developments. Upon reflection, my conclusion is that because these developments did not grow over time they are unable to adapt to change, which involves a certain organic responsive quality. I see the large master planned projects from the recent decades as rather static in their response to change, which makes me wonder if we are not approaching the design problem from the wrong side, and instead of looking at the end result we could focus on the starting point. Further, we live in an age where the future is unlikely to be like the present, and given the exponential rate of innovation the future is rather unpredictable. Coming back to the students’ theses projects, we accept that change is inevitable and unpredictable and so we are approaching planning not from an end result but rather from a starting point, to do this we are identifying where strategic investments into specific economies could breath life back into Christchurch.

The students are three-quarters of the way through their projects and are coming to Christchurch to further refine their proposals. We are hosting a series of conversations to share their ideas and strengthen the work through discussions with informed individuals from a broad range of background. Each student will host a focused conversation with a small group of invited guests, and then the day will conclude with a general conversation about how the different projects come together under a shared vision for Christchurch. The conversations will start with a short 15 minute presentation by the students followed by a specific question to frame the intention of the conversation.

The input from these conversations will be taken in to consideration as the students finalize their design propositions. In late October the students will return to Christchurch to present their final theses to a public audience.

Camia Young
August 2012

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