Thursday, August 02, 2012

Christchurch Announces Massive Redevelopment Plans

The redevelopment of Christchurch follows last year's devastating earthquake that brought large parts of the city center to rubble. The city is getting a new convention center, sports stadium and performing arts complex among the big projects planned for the new-look of downtown Christchurch.

Government planners unveiled a blueprint on Monday for the city that replaces office towers with green spaces, urban apartments and innovation "hubs" they say will give the city the feel of a college campus. Under the plan, the city will be smaller, the buildings lower and also constructed to higher earthquake standards. Government officials have not yet identified an overall cost for the rebuild or specific funding sources for all the new projects.

It has been nearly 18 months since the magnitude 6.1 quake struck the city, killing 185 people and irreparably damaging 1,400 downtown buildings, including the century-old Anglican cathedral in the city center. An earthquake memorial will be given prominence, as well as a Maori cultural center. The central city square will also be divided into a number of smaller public gathering spots.

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