Where are the city planners?
I have written earlier in this email about the fact that CCC does not have a City Planner. When we think about the changes brought about by just Covid 19 we need to have to have skilled people in key positions who can lead an intellectually rigorous process to manage the necessary changes. Having nobody at the executive team a trained planner is a serious mistake.
When we consider, for example, the impact of people working from home. In the Guardian recently the following were considered:
First, a vast corpus of employment law will need to be modernised. Already the gig economy has shown that it is out of date. Now new prickly questions about workers’ rights and responsibilities loom: can firms monitor remote workers to assess their productivity? Who is liable if employees injure themselves at home? Any sense that white-collar workers are getting perks will create simmering resentment in the rest of the workforce.
The second priority is city centres. For a century they have been dominated by towers filled with swivel chairs and tonnes of yellowing paper. Now complex urban-planning rules will need a systematic overhaul to allow buildings and districts to be redeveloped for new uses, including flats and recreation. If you step back into the office this month, sit down and log on to your computer—but don’t get too comfortable.
Let us consider the Centre of Christchurch. It was rebuilt to model what had been before. Innovative ideas for different solutions by planners were swept aside by the leadership within CERA and CCC who had no training in the area of urban design and planning.
Now it’s becoming urgent that we relook at where are our villages throughout Greater Christchurch.
How can these villages be strengthened and reinforced? How can we promote a city of vibrant villages where people can connect and get all they need within 15-20 minute walking or cycling.
What changes should we be considering in the Central City? Think just about the number of sites which remain empty with Wilsons Car Parks on them when they could be so much better used to promote a vibrant centre to complement and enhance the villages, not seek to replace them.
It’s thinking time. It’s time to engage in a deep fashion with the people of Greater Christchurch. Not just token consultation. In depth conversations held with wide groupings of people. Not the normal same as, same as. Given proper information on issues ordinary people will give sound feedback and advice.