Plans to house growing population

CENTRAL: Greater Christchurch is expected to grow by 150,000 in the next 30 years and more housing is needed.

The population of Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri is expected to increase by 150,000 over the next 30 years, so plans are being put in place to cater for growing housing and business demands.

But Christchurch could get a smaller percentage of housing development than initially forecast.

The updated draft Greater Christchurch Settlement Pattern will go out for public consultation from November 1-30 after being approved by the greater Christchurch partnership committee.

The update includes a focus on how urban areas accommodate growth and how infrastructure planning supports development.

“Sixty five per cent of greater Christchurch’s housing growth through to 2048 should be supported in Christchurch city, with the remaining 20 per cent in Selwyn and 15 per cent in Waimakariri,” the report said.

“This settlement pattern approach features a slightly lower share of growth in the city than envisaged by the urban development strategy with the higher share in the districts a reflection of the strong housing demand that has characterised these areas.”

It comes after the 2007 urban development strategy forecasted 71 per cent of growth would be in the city, while the remaining 29 per cent would be split between Selwyn and Waimakariri.

However, that was before the two districts flourished as residents moved out of the city after the February 22, 2011, earthquake.

Canterbury University urban planning researcher Rita Dionisio said to plan for an environmentally-friendly future, Christchurch’s development needs to be intensified.

“Urban intensification isn’t new in Europe, but I think it is new in Christchurch. We should start looking at inner suburbs like St Albans, Merivale and Sydenham that could help the city intensify,” she said.

Dr Dionisio said it would also help develop a sense of community.

“We should be going to the urban development strategy prior to the quakes, which unsettled a lot of things. The Government needed to solve housing problems quickly and developing those greenfields was an easy solution,” she said.

However, the developments in places, such as Rolleston and Rangiora, need to slow down now. “It will perpetuate the cycle of independence, but also take away a lot of green space which we need.”

The pattern settlement update said Canterbury is the fastest growing region in New Zealand outside Auckland.

“More population growth is projected in greater Christchurch over the next 30 years than other high-growth cities such as Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Queenstown.”

It said that translates to an extra 86,600 houses being built in greater Christchurch over the next 30 years.

That includes 65 per cent in Christchurch, 20 per cent in Selwyn and 15 per cent in Waimakariri, although the report said the targets would need to be revisited every three years.

The report also revealed there are questions around whether there is enough development capacity in Selwyn and Waimakariri to meet the demand in the long term.

“Capacity in Selwyn and Waimakariri may not be sufficient to meet demand over the medium term, while the significant capacity in the city is expected to be sufficient over the next 30 years.”

The projected shortfalls are 7575 developments in Selwyn and 9170 in Waimakariri.

“Our plan seeks to ensure that sufficient housing capacity is provided in both Selwyn and Waimakariri to enable growth in district towns, while also transitioning to more growth being provided through redevelopment in the city over the longer term.”

It proposed new greenfield housing areas should be released in Rolleston, Rangiora and Kaiapoi to help address the short falls.

It comes after The Star revealed in March the Housing and Business Development Capacity Assessment report had been developed as part of the settlement pattern review.

It is a collaboration between the city council, Selwyn and Waimakariri district councils, Environment Canterbury, Canterbury District Health Board, Regenerate Christchurch and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. However, the settlement pattern review said the update focuses on a “responsive” approach to planning.

Said the review: “How we live today will be quite different to 30 years from now, so we need to be responsive to these changes.”

The number of households with people over 65-years-old is projected to grow from 24 per cent to 35 per cent and single person households are set to increase by 50 per cent.

It said the type of housing needed will shift to smaller homes to cater for the ageing population and couples, with more multi-unit dwellings.

“While standalone homes on large sections will continue to make an important contribution towards meeting future housing demand, the shifting demographic and household profile in greater Christchurch means a growing share of demand is expected to be met by smaller housing types.”

That includes townhouses and apartments, with a lot of that growth concentrated in the city through the private rental market.

“Seventy one per cent of housing demand in the city will be met by private rentals.”

The review also said social and affordable housing will become an “increasingly critical issue” for the greater Christchurch market.

But it said the post-earthquake market will not change over night. “The market and people’s preferences needing time to respond to the new opportunities being created by regeneration and place-making initiatives in the central city, suburban centres and surrounding local neighbourhoods in Christchurch.”’