An Accessible City 

An Accessible City reimagines Christchurch’s travel network and public realm. Covering 90,000sqm, the scheme creates the foundation for a greener, more accessible and vibrant city centre that aims to triple cycling, bus and pedestrian movements by 2041.


Project Details

Client Ōtākaro
Sector Masterplanning, Transport
Location Ōtautahi Christchurch
Discipline Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, Architecture
Size 90,000sqm

Creating a sense of place

Due to its scale, this project has the potential to affect perceptions about the city, not only in the short term but for many years into the future. It is, in effect, a rare kind of project in New Zealand, where landscape architecture has come into its own in the ability to shape a city’s future, through the design of movement and place.

An initial Sense of Place study defined the visual and cultural contexts that have historically made Christchurch an appealing place for both residents and visitors. The geographical context of its place on the Canterbury Plains – sitting on a deep bed of alluvial gravels, sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and Southern Alps, and between the Waimakiriri River and Port Hills – was a natural base to work with.

A Ngai Tahu overlay mapped tohu (lines of acknowledgement to places of significance) and whakapapa (place naming), to connect pre-colonial history with the more recent built and cultural environment. Mana whenua’s relationship with the land is celebrated in An Accessible City.

The new designs acknowledge the mahinga kai and kainga nohoanga (village settlement) located on the banks of the Otakaro, which in pre-colonial days was healthy and life-giving.



2019 NZILA Awards - Infrastructure - Excellence