For those interested in the divergence of development patterns in New Zealand cities it is hard not to be struck by this page in the weekend’s real estate section.  Auckland is still growing out, but it is also growing up. Christchurch not so much, just out. Time will tell which model better suits the demands of this century. This also clearly illustrates how Auckland is an exception in NZ in more ways than just its size:

AKL v CHCH dev patterns

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  1. Similarly illustrated by two developments on former Air Force land:
    Hobsonville Point’s higher density, mixed development living
    Wigram Skies low density, single story living

    1. Only 55% of sites at Wigram Skies are low density – the remaining 45% is medium to high density. Albeit, Hobsonville Point will have 3000 dwellings over 167ha (unsure if net or gross), while Wigram Skies will have 1600 dwellings over 146.5ha gross (91.1ha net).

  2. While not yet building ‘up’, Hamilton is seeing an impressive amount of infill housing, especially around the University. The most prominent example is Chiefs Court/Cameron Park, but I have lost count of the number of detached house to townhouse conversions going on. Typically one or two houses are replaced with 6-12 terraced houses with a shared right of way.

  3. Christchurch really dropped the ball when they decided to restrict building height in the rebuild (a kneejerk reaction to the CTV collapse) In reality properly constructed highrise buildings are usually more earthquake proof than other buildings.

    1. Hello Bruce
      Even with height restrictions of between 10m – 12.5m Hamilton is getting a healthy population density of 5,000 to 8,000 per km with its Intensification zones. Which has been a fantastic boost to local shops.

  4. That bottom picture could be any land sales ad from Albany 20+ years ago. The top one a more recent one, but in effect its Albany thats not learned its lesson to about sprawl until recently.
    And those roads are a real shocker for anyone wanting walkable or liveable neighbourhood.

    Just seems silly that Christchurch is not learning from Auckland’s mistakes with sprawl ala Albany satellite developments – at the very time when it should be cutting to the chase with the intensification part rather than just letting sprawl happen.

    But maybe they are…

    That land for sale is a consented for re development block for which the current owner can’t get sufficient finance to complete the development.

    Could it be that Christchurch folks, are smarter than the politicians give them credit for and simply don’t want to move “North of the(ir) Bridge” to the outskirts of Kaiapoi where this is anymore?
    Which is why this land is now being sold – no one currently wants to live there at any price?

    This land is a real latecomer to the Post-Quake land development party, and many of the early buyers for similar types of developments 3,2 or even 1 year ago now have a huge traffic induced hangover as a result of the induced traffic they’ve collectively caused.

    1. Auckland’s mistakes? How about the mistakes of every city in the US on top of that? The lessons of sprawling development, inefficient infrastructure, and social isolation should have been learned long ago by all cities. CHCH decisions are baffling. But they always did like being a throwback of sorts. It’s a question of what to throw back to.

  5. Could be that AKL is more international which would give it more tendency toward acceptance of/ preference for high density. In other words, a lot of people live here who come from places with high density development. Conjecture.

    1. Is she with that. Most urban Asian immigrants to Auckland would comfortable with apartment living. The nice the apartment the better, of course. Only thing that holds apartments back in NZ is the unit title complexity and onerous body corporate fees. In a city like Toronto where apartments are very popular, the vast majority would be rentals from corporates who built the apartments as rental investments for the long haul.

    2. Er Steve 1.4mil plays < 0.5mil, ie much more demand for housing in AKL. Also AKL is has more geographical constraint [harbours, Waitakeres Hunuas]. Land will always be more expensive under these conditions. Land more expensive = going up as logical means to spread land cost among more dwellings. Universal spatial logic. Culture is way less important as higher density is observable where ever these conditions prevail, regardless of race or culture.

  6. As Greg has said before me, this could have equally been Albany, Botany and Dannemora, or the current development to the south and west of the city. People’s commuting limit seems to be about an hour each way, and it’s difficult to build beyond that point. Christchurch is still well within that.

    Auckland is only slowly moving towards intelligent development – but it seems to be picking up speed.

    1. What those who bought north of the bridge after the quakes have found is that their previous 20 or 30 minute commute is now well over a 1 hour commute. So they thought they escaped the traffic only to bring it with them.

      So the “1 hour commute time” radius at Christchurch is not circular but is skewed by the limited roads north of Christchurch. Its now more of a large wedge focussed around west and south areas rather than a pacman shape as you might imagine.

  7. At the college I go to in Christchurch there are so many vacant spots that I ouldn’t believe no one has taken advantage of all of them yet.

    In saying that, I heard there is a new 7/8 floor apartment being built on the edge of Hagley Park. That is real exciting.

  8. Rentals are popular in Toronto primarily due to the exorbitant prices of house ownership (townhouse and especially detached homes). Many in my generation in this city have given up the idea of having a mortgage – at least in the region. Condo ownership is achievable for some (typically starting at 300k), but some of the buildings are being constructed solely with profit in mind and not longevity. Aesthetics over quality workmanship/materials seems to be typically in favour with developers. A good documentary to watch is “The Condo Game” for a primer on the situation:

    I mention this primarily because that while I agree that high-rise development is crucial, the quality and manner in which these buildings are constructed is vital to the sustainability of the city. I hope Auckland has good regulatory bodies in place to help prevent the looming housing crisis Toronto is destined for.

  9. I just hope the masterplan for Ravenswood includes dedicated cycle ways and decent walkways over excessively wide roads and car-centric cul-de-sacs. The expansion of Rolleston, for example, missed a major opportunity to build for these modes, despite flat Canterbury land being ideal.

  10. Just wanted to highlight that the Ravenswood site can only loosely be called Christchurch – it’s 25km north of the city in a different District. Waimakariri District Council is different to Christchurch City Council, so care needs to be taken when linking this development to post-earthquake height-restrictions in Christchurch.

    Also – this one site obviously doesn’t represent all residential development in Christchurch. There are plenty of areas closer to Christchurch City where dense development is popping up, eg. Anthony’s comment above.

    1. Good grief! I have only watched the first 10mins but I will watch the rest after work. It just confirms that these apartments are not really suitable for owner occupiers. Rent one by all means but never buy one.

      1. That documentary should be compulsory viewing for anyone who is thinking of buying an apartment. I particularly liked the young couple who were renting in the downtown area but wouldn’t consider buying as there are too many renters there!

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