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Avon River expected to be feature of a world-best city park

Christchurch’s Avon River expected to be feature of a world-best city park, visiting expert says

August 28, 2013

The regeneration of the Avon River into a world-best city park using the best ecological regeneration techniques by reclaiming former red zone areas in Christchurch will totally reshape the city, a leading world city rebuild expert says.

Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University in Perth, says the regeneration of the Avon, providing bikeways along the river park and also producing central city green buildings including biophilic features such as green roofs and green walls as pioneered by the University of Canterbury (UC), will transform Christchurch into one of the finest sustainable and popular cities in the world.

Professor Newman will give a public lecture on the rebuild at UC next week (September 4). See for details:

``The big factor missing from the plan is Light Rail. Light rail will make all the difference to Christchurch. Whatever you do, please don't give up on light rail. It will structure the city to enable all the other things to happen.

``It’s not that expensive when considering all the factors. Light rail will be critical to enabling the city centre to revive. The chances are good if a new financing approach can be taken called Value Capture which uses the increase in land value around rail stations to finance it.’’

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Professor Newman talks more about Christchurch’s rebuild and light rail here:

``All these green features are on the agenda with the planners we have spoken to as well as the need to regenerate the city centre and declining suburbs using 21st century planning techniques.

``Our new research project between Curtin University and UC, working with Professor Simon Kingham’s team, is called Greening the Greyfields and consists of digital planning techniques using geographic information systems and computer visualisation like that developed in UC’s HIT Lab NZ.

``We have also been making a film on the regeneration of Christchurch with my colleague Tim Beatley from University of Virginia. Our last film on Singapore had 10,000 hits on You Tube.

``We have interviewed key people like the Mayor Bob Parker, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority’s Roger Sutton, politician Lianne Dalziel, Bishop Victoria Matthews as well as UC academics like Ryan Reynolds, Bryan Jenkins, Eric Pawson, Matt Morris and Aisling O’Sullivan.

``Christchurch has become a special experience, to be part of a city that is regenerating. It is a privilege for people and students to visit or settle in this city.

``It is a boom town in many ways but most of all it is a city with a strong spirit that needs as many young people as possible to help. UC is a fantastic place that has world leading innovations in how to create a more resilient city.’’

Professor Newman is an Erskine visitor to UC. The Erskine Fellowship programme was established in 1963 following a generous bequest by former distinguished UC student John Erskine.


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