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Published on Mar 29, 2013
March 22nd 2013 - Dr. Susan Krumdieck presented the results of a Transition Engineering research project to explore grey-field urban redevelopment for Christchurch, New Zealand. In Feb 2011 the central city business and cultural districts and 12,000 people's homes were severely damaged. The people of Christchurch had long resisted urban sprawl as a growth plan. The earthquake rebuild was seen as an opportunity by most people to improve the city for the long term and to build sustainability into the re-generation plan.
The government has just released the Land Use Recovery Plan (LURP), which includes 40,000 sections for new homes in ex-urban rural areas, over-ruling the local council's long term plan. As Dr. Krumdieck shows, ex-urban sprawl is a greater risk to the city's future than a devastating earthquake. There is a great urgency now for cooperation and setting aside short-term politics in favor of engineering and sustainable design best practice. The decisions made now will have a profound effect on the economic and social viability of the city for at least a century into the future.
The 'From the Ground Up' project had the simple objectives of developing a plan to house 15,000 people within the urban boundary in a way that provides a rate of return on investment over 10% for developers, provides warm, low-energy sustainable housing for 20,000 people across the spectrum of income levels, which can adapt to zero oil-based transport and which can drive development of urban infrastructure like electric trams and the central city. The project used a methodology based on science, engineering, and research of best practice. The project resulted in a plan for "New Riccarton" a re-build of an old suburb into a new urban area with all the amenities.
The results show that it would be worth taking the next step of exploring our old neighborhoods for grey-field re-development potential. The project also illustrates why it is important to carry out planning projects with specific quantitative methods.
Team Members: Advanced Energy and Material Systems Lab Sebastiano Bernardoni - Sustainable Development, Geography, Transport Planning Dr. Stacy Rendall - Energy Engineering, Transport and GIS Modelling Emily Ward - Mechanical Engineering and Transition Engineering Michael Southon - Mechanical Engineering Atefeh Vahedi - Architecture Dr. Susan Krumdieck - Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering, Founder of Transition Engineering