PAVING A WAY THROUGH THE CENTRAL CITY

With striking new structures sprouting up around central Christchurch – such as Tūranga, EntX, Te Pae and the Riverside Market – it’s easy to overlook surface changes that are transforming our city centre. A network of laneways and shared paths are making the city more appealing for people and businesses, while changing the way we get around.

Laneways break down city blocks and draw people in, enabling attractions like the bustling Little High Eatery to thrive without a street frontage.

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The SALT (St Asaph/Lichfield/Tuam) District around Little High was one of the first areas to be developed in the South Frame Anchor Project. With an east-west Greenway extending between the Health and Innovation Precincts and perpendicular lanes, South Frame was designed to catalyse development in a hemmed-in southern side of the CBD.

The SALT District is becoming a vibrant part of town with its mix of food and other hospitality businesses, as well as retail, office, and residential elements – all connected by paved lanes and an attractive, sunny square. Check out the Highlight Street Art Party in SALT Square on the evening of Saturday October 5, where the impressive Ōtautahi mural will be animated for the first time with a video projection.

The more recently-developed Mollet Street – the area of the Greenway between Colombo and Durham Streets – is finding its feet. A new eatery called The Yard backs on to the recently-opened Ao Tawhiti School. Hotel, apartment, childcare, and English language school developments are also either proposed or confirmed in the area to capitalise on the laneway network.

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The South Frame is now about 75 per cent complete and Ōtākaro Limited has plans to develop the remaining sections shortly as land becomes available. Imagine your children hopping off a bus at the Bus Interchange and walking or scootering along the Greenway to ride the five hydroslides at a completed Metro Sports Facility. Eventually another lane will wind around the south side of Te Pae, to create a convenient link between Cathedral Square and the river.

The myriad of laneways and broad shared paths are making it easier and more attractive to move around our central city.

The wide paved area running north-south through the middle of Rauora Park is becoming an increasingly popular commuting route, as is the new City Promenade along the city side of the river. Ōtākaro will shortly begin work on the Avon Loop development, a pedestrian and cycle route that will connect the City Promenade with the eastern suburbs.

There is more to the regenerating central city than new steel structures. It’s also becoming a more attractive place to spend time in and move about.

City SceneJoshua Brosnahan