Thursday 11 September 2014

Me and Eaqub on Christchurch

Shamubeel Eaqub and I contributed chapters on the Christchurch earthquake and rebuild to a book that came out last week. The Herald covers it here.
Shamubeel Eaqub, NZIER principal economist and from Lincoln outside Christchurch, wrote about "overly restrictive policies on height, density and urban limits" which he said needed to be considered.
Centrally planned clusters never worked because the beauty of cities was that the close proximity of different people, skills and ideas gave rise to new ways of doing things and that was the lifeblood of innovation, Eaqub said. "Creating strict precincts based on one vision of how an economy or community is organised is misguided," he wrote.
The Christchurch Central Recovery Plan had good elements but was too restrictive on building and urban design practices.
"The plan has good enough elements to get the tick but it is taking too long to implement. The longer we wait, the higher the chances of permanent damage to Christchurch's economic future as the South Island's economic capital," he warned.
Eric Crampton, ex-Canterbury University economics lecturer and now head of research with the New Zealand Initiative in Wellington, wrote how the length of time it took to plan the new city centre had disastrous consequences.
"In Christchurch, the three-year-long quest for the perfect central city plan stopped anyone downtown from proceeding with any work at all for far too long, bleeding downtown's prospective recovery as businesses fled for the suburbs or left town entirely," he wrote.
You can, and should, buy the book here.

I'll be on a panel discussion as part of the book launch here in Wellington at LT1, School of Architecture and Design, 139 Vivian Street, at 12:30 on the 18th of September. Come along and say hi.

The Auckland launch, which I won't be attending, is on the 17th, with details at the link above. I missed the Christchurch launch on the 31st, unfortunately.

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