By engaging with the local communities who are ardent to see change, we can design a nationwide approach that will ultimately provide bespoke results at grassroot level. We have the opportunity to provide communities with tools, resources and responsibility, to take ownership of their catchment waterbodies.
By involving local communities, we will also gain a rich dataset into the challenges that our lakes and waterbodies are facing. Enabling an 80/20 pareto approach to targeting efforts into the worst areas.
Some of New Zealand’s catchment areas have experienced first-hand the success of community-engaged initiatives and future.
Is it possible...?
With urban settlements forecasted to account for over 80 percent of the world’s population by 2050 (UN,2010), cities represent our greatest opportunity to reverse the significant environmental degradation of our past.
But rapid urban growth can be both an opportunity and a threat...
A future-ready vision for Christchurch City Council
In 2016, Christchurch City Council reached out to WSP to develop a future-ready vision for one of its urban catchment areas.
Throughout Christchurch, the natural water system has been impacted by urban development. This means the general ecosystem health of the creek - and ongoing flooding issues - had created a degraded environment.
The area was also heavily trafficked and there was limited recreational space. Ultimately this affected the community’s attitude and behaviour towards the site, with the community turning their backs on the creek and, in some cases, each other.
Christchurch City Council gave WSP full licence to scour international practices to identify and develop a future-ready framework for New Zealand’s urban environments.
We addressed and determined principles based on several fundamental human-centred well-beings. These guided our concept of human-sustainable urbanism. We presented the council with a range of small and large initiatives with the power to transform the catchment by reconnecting residents to the creek. These included:
- Increasing the open space areas on the site by over 400% to provide recreational opportunities for the community, along with integrating a healthy, accessible waterway system throughout.
- Introducing a blue-green water boulevard connecting to the wider city. The boulevard performs as a floodplain in significant events. The buildings and transport modes within the boulevard are isolated from the floodplain.
- Further street scene typologies that incorporate.
- Bioretention swales to capture, treat and infiltrate stormwater runoff as it moves downstream, wide pedestrian footpaths and smart LED street lights for community safety, plus native and exotic planting for greater biodiversity, improved community aesthetic and amenity plus air purification and cooling.
- ‘Pollinator’ paths to generate a wide range of ecosystem services that spread across social, cultural, environmental and economic welfares.
- District-wide electric light rail corridor to strengthen crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) and to encourage the community to engage with.
The next phase of this work would be to deliver a collaborative framework across the communities and the many varied stakeholders from the City Authority to other private and public organisations.
Working alongside Christchurch City Council, we aim to deliver a net positive urban catchment approach across the whole city.