Skip to Content »

Why Christchurch could beat Auckland

  • October 20th, 2014

Canterbury people may one day thank the Christchurch planners whose incompetence has probably eliminated its CBD, at least as CBDs are known and loved by planners.  John McCrone in the Press describes without the common sneers, the dispersion of commercial and residential development, built around excellent roads.  It may mean Christchurch gains New Zealand’s nearest equivalent to the growth and energy of Houston, Texas.

Houston is hated by the elites, but it is where people choose to live. That city alone is now building more residences than the whole of highly regulated California. 

The hopeless dithering of planners, and their inability to empathise with people who have to make a return on capital could mean that Christchurch and Canterbury people are not saddled with a real CBD which the planners then warp everything else to serve, such as white elephant commuter trains and other ‘spines’.

So the region will be freer to react to the enormous changes coming from driverless transport. Their built pattern will not involve the forced concentrations so beloved of those who need to see heads nodding all in unison, on trains and buses. 

There’s another reason to think that the disaster inflicted on Canterbury by paralysing planning is short term. Unlike monolithic Auckland, Christchurch has had the safety valve of competing small local authorities whose decision-makers respect their customers. So business has been able to escape the costs and paralysis.

I’m looking forward to the time, not too far away, when our urban rail corridors compete with the Otago Rail Trail. We’ll love to cycle on them, for commuting, but also for fun, because the safety, speed, efficience and cheapness of self driving personal transport will have made them redundant. 

And country pubs will revive, as drunk driving becomes a quaint historical concern. When our cars can drive us home better than we can sober, the country pub and garden bar will recover their proper places in the sun.

Disclosure – I bus and cycle and walk to work, and have never had a work car-park in 40 years. But that does not mean I won’t share the joy of seeing the silencing of the little despots who keep trying to coerce us all into public transport.

 Thanks Whale Oil for the link to the Atlantic comments

Leave your comments:

* Required fields. Your e-mail address will not be published on this site

You can use the following HTML tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>