Option C

Land use and housingOption C Map

Option C creates a greater degree of decentralisation of households and employment throughout the area. About 40% of the population growth is located in Christchurch City (20,852 people), 21% in towns (10,947 people) and 39% on rural and lifestyle blocks and larger residential lots of 2-5,000sqm (20,330 people). Lifestyle choice and a market driven rural-residential housing market are key factors encouraging decentralisation of both residential and commercial activity.

Residential development would occur in rural areas to the south-west of Christchurch City around Rolleston and Lincoln, north of the Waimakariri River , at Pegasus Bay and Rangiora, and around the Lyttelton Harbour Basin. About 90% of housing development would be in new subdivisions and rural residential developments and 10% would be urban renewal in areas of the City and towns. Christchurch and the major rural towns would largely retain their existing size.

These new subdivisions are likely to be a combination of traditional suburban subdivisions located close to existing towns with smaller sections, and rural residential developments (lifestyle and residential blocks) with large sections.

The look and feel of existing neighbourhoods would experience little change, as redevelopment of existing areas would take second place to the development of new housing developments. Section sizes would remain similar sizes within existing urban areas, though the average size of a section in a new rural residential area would be much larger. Limited redevelopment in Christchurch's Central City would proceed.

New subdivisions require water, sewerage, power and telephone services. Existing infrastructure in established suburbs and towns would require ongoing maintenance costing about $380 million for infrastructure by 2021 and $580 million by 2041.

This new development would provide some choice for house buyers, with a wide range of locations although limited opportunity for apartment, townhouse and mixed use housing choices. The large areas of land zoned for development will keep land cost low and housing prices affordable and competitive.


With development spread out around the Greater Christchurch 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. By 2021 congestion would increase by 250% and commuting would take 31% longer. By 2041 congestion would rise by 630% and commuting would take 65% longer. For example, a 30 minute trip to work today would take 40 minutes by 2021 and 50 minutes by 2041.

Building and widening roads to avoid this predicted increase in congestion is likely to cost $1.6 billion by 2021 and $2.1 billion by 2041. By 2041 we would be spending over $4.9 billion each year on private motoring costs (cost of fuel and crashes), in addition to the $2 billion spent on roading.

With people living further from where they work, study, socialise or relax, walking, cycling and using public transport are unlikely to be attractive alternatives to driving. With more vehicles on the road, the costs of servicing and repairing the damage from crashes are likely to increase.

Community identity

New developments would 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, may prevent communities from developing an identity or spirit.

Existing facilities in established suburbs may struggle to survive without a steady inflow of new residents. Sports and cultural groups in older suburbs may struggle to survive. The transition of population from old to new suburbs could result in a loss of community groups and facilities and social cohesion.

Without pressure to redevelop existing suburbs and towns, older properties could become rundown and unattractive, further destroying community identity and pride as people who can afford to move away do so, leaving others trapped in decaying neighbourhoods.

Natural environment

By encouraging growth to spread outward, the opportunity to create large open spaces and regional parks is reduced. While larger sections provide more private recreation space for individual homeowners, they reduce the space available for community recreation space.

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.

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 41% by 2021 and 103% by 2041 (carbon monoxide 170 tonnes/day in 2021 and 260 tonnes/day by 2041). With new developments spread right around the Greater Christchurch area it would not be practical to extend metro public transport services to some of these areas, giving residents no choice but to drive everywhere.

As 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 increase to 3,240 litres per second by 2041, a 55% increase from 2001. Balancing residential demand for water with the water needs of farming and industry could lead to difficult choices over who gets priority for water and at what price.

Spreading development away from existing urban areas, the coastline and the Waimakariri River would reduce the risk of damage from flooding, earthquakes and tsunami. Emergency services, however, would be stretched to respond to a natural disaster due to the spread of population at greater distances than at present.

As development moves out into the countryside, productive lands currently used for market gardening and farming would be lost. The current separation of town and country would be blurred as development spread in every direction. Development could also destroy the natural habitat and eco-systems essential for the survival of hundreds of native plants, birds and animals living in the Greater Christchurch area.