I agree with a lot of this article about the good and bad of laneways, and recommend that you give it a read. One thing that the author doesn’t really touch on – and that I think is key with respect to the way that lane ways are proposed for the city – is the artificiality of them. Antony Gough has been to Melbourne, and wants to put in little lanes like the ones he saw there. To do this, he is going to put them through his development, and hope that shops populate them. Sure, better than nothing – but not the way that cities evolve lanes. Even in pre-quake Christchurch, you had a stark example of this. Poplar St was a success as shops and bars moved into a group of buildings that had been built up for all manner of purposes over a century; SOL Square was drawn up on a plan, and while the bars did well, it was at the expense of the shops, who had all gone under within a year or so of opening. There was very little life down those lanes during the day.

If Christchurch wants lanes – and we want them to be successful – then the best way forward would be for CERA to let developers work on smaller pockets of land, rather than concentrating development into giant blocks of land, then expecting Potemkin Laneways to be built through them.

 

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