Regenerate Christchurch recently released its vision for Cathedral Square, emphasising that a return to its original purpose as a gathering place for local people and visitors must be front and centre. Chief Executive Ivan Iafeta says while the vision for the physical regeneration of the Square is aspirational in terms of design, the social regeneration of the Square is achievable sooner and should be prioritised.
“There is already significant investment occurring around the Square. The most practical way to support that investment is to commit to a long-term vision over time while, in the meantime, getting more happening there and making it a place for the people again.” Mr Iafeta says, coupled with the restoration of the Anglican Cathedral, the regeneration of the Square will need to be delivered in stages as funding and other developments allow. But delivering a comprehensive programme of events, activities and festivals will re-establish the Square as a gathering place.
Mr Iafeta says private property owners and developers have committed to significant property developments on the south side of the Square that will include Redson Corporation’s new Aotea Gifts building and Nexus Point’s Spark building. The new central library (Tūranga) is currently being built on the north side of the Square and construction of the Convention Centre (Te Pae) is well underway.
Regenerate Christchurch’s development of the vision over the past 18 months has included planning and engagement with Cathedral Square property owners, business groups, heritage groups, Ngāi Tūāhuriri, the public and other key stakeholders.
It includes a series of interconnected spaces suitable for holding public events, with a combination of paving and green areas, and more trees than there has been in the past. The design includes an option for three enclosed pavilions connected by a lattice-style structure which, Mr Iafeta says, would provide a year-round undercover area for markets and other activities.
Mr Iafeta says now that Regenerate Christchurch has released its vision for the Square, it will work with Christchurch City Council to develop a delivery strategy. “To be regenerated, the Square cannot remain symbolic of the city’s loss and instead needs to be a strong symbol of the vibrant future of the centre of our city. The long-term vision will provide the impetus and drive for the public and private sectors to work toward a common goal.
Regenerate Christchurch’s long-term vision document and a 360-degree interactive panorama of Cathedral Square can be seen on the Regenerate Christchurch website www.regeneratechristchurch.nz/cathedral-square
Images | Courtesy of Regenerate Christchurch