Reconstruction efforts in Christchurch have been described as world leading following a visit from the World Bank – Cities Alliance and the Future Cities Institute recently. Visiting New Zealand from Washington DC to speak at the Futures Cities Forum in Auckland, William (Billy) Cobbett, Manager World Bank - Cities Alliance Group, and as well Cantabrian expat, Malcolm Fraser, CEO of The Future Cities Institute took time out to visit Christchurch and met with the city’s reconstruction team.
Spending time to meet with Mayor Parker and the City Councils urban planning team, Billy remarked that the temporary home for the council look remarkable like the Mayors Michael Bloomberg’s bull pen in New York City – minus the chandlers.
While with the City Council, Billy and Malcolm spent time finding out how Christchurch worked with its citizens in developing the new draft plan for the city. The end result of this visit being the observation that Christchurch is world-class in this area, and would be a valuable case study for cities globally when undertaking city planning and urban renewal.
During the day both visitors also spent time at the proposed Enterprise Precinct and Innovation Campus (EPIC) site on the edge of the red-zone, agreeing that this initiative would also of considerable interest to the city partners of both the World Bank and Future Cities Institute as a great example of ‘tenant-lead’ urban revitalisation and innovation.
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says Christchurch appreciates the support of both The Future Cities Institute and also the World Bank as it embarks on the huge task of rebuilding its Central City.
“To have representatives of such influential organisations coming to our city and have them endorse the Council’s work on the draft Central City Plan to date is very encouraging. I want to continue to foster the relationship with these organisations who are confident that Christchurch will again be a centre of science and innovation.”
Malcolm Fraser was particularly interested in the EPIC vision that supported collaboration between local government, industry and academia to accelerate innovation and support the development of high-skilled jobs and export ready start-ups in the Christchurch economy.
“At the Future Cities Institute we believe that cities are the engines of national economies, and in the power of people in local communities to create and sustain cities as great places to live and work.”
“Christchurch and the EPIC initiative are great examples of this, and as an international NGO, I want to express our support and commitment to the re-establishment of Christchurch’s historic innovation ecosystem”.
Other meetings during the visit included Canterbury University and Christchurch learning and development companies.
The Future Cities Institute are a global partner to the World Bank on city innovation systems. For more information please visit www.futurecitiesinstitute.org
Christchurch City Operations by Circumstance, visited by Malcolm Fraser, Mayor Parker, Billy Cobbett compared to the New York Operations by Design.