Breathing new life into Christchurch city


  • Christchurch, New Zealand


  • Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority/ Ōtākaro

Project Value

  • 100,000,000 m +

Project Status

  • January 2013 - 2020

WSP is helping to recreate the heart of Christchurch with a space that will promote recreation, tourism, business growth and central city living for residents and visitors alike.

The first anchor project for the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) will change the shape of the city and act as a catalyst for Christchurch’s earthquake recovery.

It will create accessible and sustainable spaces that can be enjoyed by people of all ages for recreation and relaxation. The design celebrates the natural, spiritual and ecological significance of the Avon River while improving accessibility and enhancing the river’s rich cultural heritage values.

Landscaped areas include exotic and native plants to reflect the city’s cultures. Improved access to the river is provided via boardwalks and terracing.

The precinct incorporates passive and active recreation spaces to appeal to all ages, including cycle ways, outdoor theatre, playgrounds and picnic areas. The design concept was completed in a tight 12 week timeframe. The Watermark pilot project provided an opportunity for public feedback.

WSP provided a range of services including:

  • Landscape architecture
  • Archaeology
  • Planning
  • Surveying
  • Flood, civil, bridge, traffic and geotechnical engineering
  • Transport planning
  • Contaminated land

WSP is providing Christchurch with a sustainable space that will set the scene for further redevelopment.

Other partners involved:

  • BDP (UK)
  • Boffa Miskell
  • LandLab
  • Rough and Milne Ngāi Tahu Research Centre
  • Matapopore Charitable Trust Royal Associates
  • EOS Ecology
  • A+Urban Graham Bennett Sculpture
  • Ove Arup and Partners International Ltd
  • Stoks Ltd, Parks Central
  • E Cubed
  • Lucas associates - Prof Jacky Bowring
  • WT Partnership