Draft OARC Regeneration Plan - 2: Connecting and involving communities

Example of a connected edge where houses face the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor and there are places for the community to enjoy.

Objectives: Support safe, strong and healthy communities that are well-connected with each other and with the wider city.

Provide opportunities for enhanced community participation, recreation and leisure.

Communities experienced upheaval, depopulation and uncertainty after the earthquakes. Schools, halls, churches, recreational facilities, bridges and roads were damaged. The regeneration of this area is an opportunity to strengthen community identity, bring people together and involve communities in shaping their future.

Regeneration can bring communities together and enhance whanaungatanga (social and whānau connections) to improve wellbeing.

Strengthen community identity

Over the following decades the regeneration of the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor will both transform and be influenced by the identities of neighbouring communities.

Connecting people with nature: The ecological restoration of the area using mahinga kai principles would provide neighbouring communities with exceptional access to a large green space in the middle of the city. Community identities would be shaped by the abundance of birdlife in neighbourhood gardens, the emerging visual landscape of tōtara, kahikatea and mataī; and multiple recreational opportunities such as kayaking, walking and cycling minutes from their doorstep.

Opportunities to connect with nature offer significant health and wellbeing benefits including growth of a positive community identity and sense of belonging.

Expressing community identity: Stories of the past, present and future of manawhenua and local communities are core to the design of components within this draft Regeneration Plan. The Cultural Trail and landings can embrace the concept of whanaungatanga and celebrate the stories, heritage and identity of local communities and it is expected that this process of expressing community identity will be ongoing.


Community connection

Connected communities have a strong sense of identity and high levels of wellbeing. Creating opportunities for communities to connect is fundamental to regeneration and embedded in the following strategies.

Bringing people together: Community connection occurs naturally in ‘bumping spaces’ where people with shared interests connect; for example, playgrounds, dog parks, fitness equipment, community gardens and basketball half-courts.

The Spatial Plan concepts within this draft Regeneration Plan provide for spaces that, with strong community engagement, can be designed to meet the needs of different communities. Some spaces, like the eight landings, along the Green Spine can respond to the unique needs of neighbouring communities like Avonside, Travis and Richmond. Other spaces can meet the needs of communities of interest; for example people with disabilities or young people, who might prioritise safe, accessible, well-lit spaces.

Reconnecting the edges: The red zone process left abrupt edges and interrupted streets. Reconnecting the edges of adjacent communities with the area will provide a safer and more appealing environment. Where appropriate, this will involve new streets along severed edges with new housing facing the river, gardens, recreational areas and other spaces.

New transport connections: Severed communities could be reconnected through the new City to Sea path and lateral trails, four new footbridges and a new road bridge.


Community participation in decision-making

The communities along this eleven-kilometre stretch of the river hold rich local knowledge and it is important to acknowledge that many already provide stewardship of the area.

Community participation in decision-making ensures that local knowledge is captured and informs future design and delivery. It gives people a way of contributing to their communities which is important for wellbeing. A close connection between the governance structure and communities will be essential to the successful regeneration of the area.

Objectives: Support safe, strong and healthy communities that are well-connected with each other and with the wider city.

Provide opportunities for enhanced community participation, recreation and leisure.

Communities experienced upheaval, depopulation and uncertainty after the earthquakes. Schools, halls, churches, recreational facilities, bridges and roads were damaged. The regeneration of this area is an opportunity to strengthen community identity, bring people together and involve communities in shaping their future.

Regeneration can bring communities together and enhance whanaungatanga (social and whānau connections) to improve wellbeing.

Strengthen community identity

Over the following decades the regeneration of the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor will both transform and be influenced by the identities of neighbouring communities.

Connecting people with nature: The ecological restoration of the area using mahinga kai principles would provide neighbouring communities with exceptional access to a large green space in the middle of the city. Community identities would be shaped by the abundance of birdlife in neighbourhood gardens, the emerging visual landscape of tōtara, kahikatea and mataī; and multiple recreational opportunities such as kayaking, walking and cycling minutes from their doorstep.

Opportunities to connect with nature offer significant health and wellbeing benefits including growth of a positive community identity and sense of belonging.

Expressing community identity: Stories of the past, present and future of manawhenua and local communities are core to the design of components within this draft Regeneration Plan. The Cultural Trail and landings can embrace the concept of whanaungatanga and celebrate the stories, heritage and identity of local communities and it is expected that this process of expressing community identity will be ongoing.


Community connection

Connected communities have a strong sense of identity and high levels of wellbeing. Creating opportunities for communities to connect is fundamental to regeneration and embedded in the following strategies.

Bringing people together: Community connection occurs naturally in ‘bumping spaces’ where people with shared interests connect; for example, playgrounds, dog parks, fitness equipment, community gardens and basketball half-courts.

The Spatial Plan concepts within this draft Regeneration Plan provide for spaces that, with strong community engagement, can be designed to meet the needs of different communities. Some spaces, like the eight landings, along the Green Spine can respond to the unique needs of neighbouring communities like Avonside, Travis and Richmond. Other spaces can meet the needs of communities of interest; for example people with disabilities or young people, who might prioritise safe, accessible, well-lit spaces.

Reconnecting the edges: The red zone process left abrupt edges and interrupted streets. Reconnecting the edges of adjacent communities with the area will provide a safer and more appealing environment. Where appropriate, this will involve new streets along severed edges with new housing facing the river, gardens, recreational areas and other spaces.

New transport connections: Severed communities could be reconnected through the new City to Sea path and lateral trails, four new footbridges and a new road bridge.


Community participation in decision-making

The communities along this eleven-kilometre stretch of the river hold rich local knowledge and it is important to acknowledge that many already provide stewardship of the area.

Community participation in decision-making ensures that local knowledge is captured and informs future design and delivery. It gives people a way of contributing to their communities which is important for wellbeing. A close connection between the governance structure and communities will be essential to the successful regeneration of the area.