Christchurch

Element - - Clean Technology -

Christchurch’s trau­matic re­cent his­tory has pre­pared it more than most for the rigours of risk as­sess­ment and disas­ter plan­ning. The Coun­cil is ex­pect­ing cli­mate change to de­liver a 50–80 cen­time­tre rise in sea level, a tem­per­a­ture in­crease of two de­grees and changes in rain­fall and ex­treme weather events. The au­thor­ity be­lieves the pos­i­tive side of this could be milder win­ters and a longer grow­ing sea­son. How­ever, this comes with more in­tense rain that could in­crease land­slides, as well as iron­i­cally, an in­creased like­li­hood of droughts dur­ing drier pe­ri­ods. The city is also threat­ened by new pests and dis­eases as well as the po­ten­tial for eco­nomic dis­rup­tion, par­tic­u­larly from ris­ing fos­sil fuel prices and sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of dis­placed peo­ple from low-ly­ing, drought-prone ar­eas mov­ing into the city.

To try and head that off the city has com­mit­ted to cut­ting its green­house gas emis­sions by a fifth by 2020 mea­sured against 2008 lev­els, and halv­ing them by 2050. This would in­clude shift­ing more freight onto ships and rail, en­cour­ag­ing pub­lic trans­port, walk­ing and cycling wher­ever pos­si­ble and rolling out more pub­lic trans­port of the kind it is cur­rently tri­alling with a rates-funded hy­brid-elec­tric bus. The city in­tends to cut land­filled waste by two thirds, and is cur­rently in­ves­ti­gat­ing the po­ten­tial of cre­at­ing al­gal-based bio­fu­els at its wastew­a­ter treat­ment plant. Be­gin­ning in 2015 the coun­cil plans to re­duce bar­ri­ers and in­crease the af­ford­abil­ity and up­take of so­lar and heat pump hot wa­ter heat­ing sys­tems by fast­track­ing con­sents, pro­vid­ing low in­ter­est long-term loans and ac­cred­it­ing the sys­tems and in­stall­ers. There’s even $30,000 set aside to en­cour­age peo­ple to grow more of their own veg­gies on pri­vate land and suit­able pub­lic spa­ces.

There’s even $30,000 set aside to en­cour­age peo­ple to grow more of their own veg­gies...

Re­build­ing for a cli­mate change fu­ture

A unique part of the pic­ture in Christchurch is Legacy, a part­ner­ship cre­ated by the coun­cil and the New Zealand Green Build­ing Coun­cil (NZGBC), with sup­port from Prop­erty Coun­cil of New Zealand and the Can­ter­bury Em­ploy­ers Cham­ber of Com­merce, and sev­eral lo­cal de­vel­op­ment com­pa­nies. It has at­tracted the likes of West­pac, Jasmax, Christchurch In­ter­na­tional Air­port and the Univer­sity of Can­ter­bury among oth­ers: or­gan­i­sa­tions that have pledged to de­velop and oc­cupy healthy, ef­fi­cient, and sus­tain­able build­ings that cre­ate a last­ing legacy for the re­gion, and to in­spire more busi­nesses to do like­wise.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says: “There is an un­prece­dented op­por­tu­nity in the re­build of our city to make the most of lat­est knowl­edge and tech­nolo­gies to cre­ate a Christchurch fit for the fu­ture, one that we can all be proud of.”

Sketch by Ur­ban Func­tion Ar­chi­tec­ture.

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