Christchurch could rival Melbourne
Do not get bogged down in building design because it is what goes on in between the structures that matters, British designer Kevin McCloud says.
The Grand Designs frontman was in Christchurch yesterday to announce the winner of the Breathe Urban Village design competition and said social spaces, shared resources and "active communities" should be the focus for attracting people to live in central Christchurch.
McCloud visited Christchurch in 2011 and said "what has happened here since then is fantastic".
He credited the Pallet Pavilion, the Christchurch Arts Festival, Greening the Rubble and "all the wonderful temporary spaces that have popped up".
The idea of central cities being entirely business-based was "quite a crude one", he said.
The magic happened when people lived in the central business district and shared "everything from cars to vegetable gardens".
In 20 years, Christchurch could rival Melbourne in terms of liveability, McCloud said.
"When times are good and the money flows, imagination withers, but when times are difficult, imagination flourishes."
McCloud said he had been "captured by the innovation of Christchurch" and said the Breathe competition was "about inspiration and providing an example of a new way of living" in the CBD.
Designs needed to be "possible and doable", otherwise people would quickly lose interest.
The winning design, by a team of Italian architects, consisted of a high-density style of living that Cantabrians were not traditionally used to, but McCloud said people could adjust.
"The suburban way of living has generally been quite isolating ... cities offer so much more," he said.
"You don't need to rely on a car, you can walk or cycle everywhere ... and I think it's incredible that in Christchurch people will be able to cycle from the sea to the city centre."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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