Business as usual option

Councils would be able to pursue independent growth strategies. The map indicates areas where development would generally occur.

Development Map

Land use and housing

Business as Usual sees a continuation of the existing mix of redevelopment of established Christchurch inner suburbs, growth of larger towns and new rural residential developments.

About 21% of the population growth would be housed within urban renewal developments and the remaining 79% would live in new developments spread around the Greater Christchurch area. Employment and retail locations would continue to disperse.

Christchurch and its inner suburbs already being redeveloped, such as St Albans, Richmond , Linwood and Addington would continue to be developed. Housing choices here might include apartments and townhouses with two to three storey developments. Christchurch 's outer suburbs are unlikely to experience much change, however, there would be further expansion of Christchurch into rural areas.

Land outside Christchurch north of the Waimakariri River and southwest into Selwyn would continue to be developed for housing. The larger district towns, such as Rangiora and Rolleston would continue to grow.

New subdivisions would likely be a combination of traditional suburban subdivisions located around existing towns and new towns, such as Pegasus Bay , with smaller section sizes, and rural residential developments (lifestyle blocks) with large sections, blurring the distinction between town and country.

New subdivisions require water, sewerage, power and telephone services. Existing infrastructure in established suburbs and towns would require ongoing maintenance requiring $360 million being spent on infrastructure by 2021 and $560 million by 2041.

Redevelopment of existing suburbs, expansion of large towns and new development would provide good choices for house buyers, with a wide range of housing types and locations. The large areas of land zoned for development will keep land cost lower and housing prices affordable and competitive compared to the other options.


For people living in Christchurch's Central City and inner suburbs, walking and cycling may be practical alternatives to driving, and public transport services should be good to these areas and to the larger district towns, such as Rolleston and Rangiora. People living in new subdivisions in rural areas, further from where they work, study, socialise or relax are unlikely to have public transport available, and neither walking nor cycling will be practical alternatives to driving.

With most development spread out around the area, people will spend more time travelling from their homes to work, school and shops. Arterial roads and city streets across the area will become more congested. With new developments spread right around the area it may not be practical to extend Metro public transport services to some of these areas, giving residents limited choices.

By 2021 congestion would increase by 160% and commuting take 26% longer. By 2041 congestion would rise by 320% and commuting take 55% longer. For example, a 30-minute trip to work today would take 38 minutes by 2021 and 47 minutes by 2041. To prevent congestion reaching this level would require building and widening roads, and investing in public transport and cycling, at a cost of $1.5 billion by 2021 and $2 billion by 2041.

The consequences of congestion would include increase motoring costs (vehicle fuel costs and the cost of crashes). By 2041 we would be spending over $3.9 billion each year on motoring, in addition to the $2 billion spent on roading.

Community identity

New developments outside Christchurch and the larger towns will have little in the way of community facilities when first developed. This forces residents to travel to existing facilities until amenities are developed, if they are developed. The lack of community facilities, such as schools, recreation centres and libraries, prevents new communities from developing an identity or spirit.

While well-planned redevelopment can breathe new life into rundown neighbourhoods and attract new residents, much of the current redevelopment of existing suburbs is uncoordinated and random. This unplanned redevelopment of neighbourhoods changes the character of communities as villas and townhouses sit uncomfortably side-by-side. If this approach continues, the social make-up of these communities could change impacting upon community facilities. Libraries, clubs and even schools could face closure as redevelopment changes the community identity and the facilities required. The transition of population from old to new or redeveloping suburbs could also result in a loss of social cohesion.

Natural environment

With growth spreading outward from Christchurch City around towns and into the countryside, there will be reduced opportunities to create large open spaces and regional parks. The open space between existing towns will increasingly fill up with housing developments. People will need to travel further to escape the built up areas and find open space for recreation and leisure.

With more people living further away from their work, schools and shops, there'll be more vehicles on the road for longer periods. Vehicle emissions would increase 28% by 2021 and 64% by 2041 (carbon monoxide 160 tonnes/day in 2021 and 200 tonnes/day by 2041).

It is possible that air pollution could worsen, due to a lack of reinvestment in older housing areas and use of wood burning fires in outer areas.

As many new section sizes are large, and more lifestyle developments occur, the volume of water used to water gardens and lawns will rise rapidly. Overall water consumption would be 3,042 litres per second a 45% increase from 2001.

Spreading development around the area may reduce the risk of damage from flooding, earthquakes and tsunami however, because of the spread of population at greater distances than at present emergency services would be stretched to respond to a natural disaster.

As development moves out into the countryside, productive lands currently used for market gardening and farming would be lost. Development could threaten the natural habitat and eco-systems essential for the survival of native plants, birds and animals.