And here’s a contrast with the previous post – a story from the Washington Post about the success of parklets – when carparks are converted to mini-parks, touched up with a bit of greenery or some furniture.

Remove parking, the argument goes, and business will wither. The reality, though, is more complicated …

For the last few years, Philadelphia has converted a handful of parking spots in front of neighborhood businesses into temporary “parklets” no bigger than the spac e that might fit one or two cars (these tiny interventions are now popular in a lot of cities). Records from adjacent businesses show sales went up about 20 percent immediately after the parks were installed, relative to right beforehand.

Christchurch is in a slightly different situation; instead of converting parking spots to little parks, we should be having a debate about the number of carparks – on street and off street – we should be embedding in our city plans. But we’re not. Instead, we have business “leaders” insisting that carparks are essential to the rebuild; the only dissent is around how many carparks we are talking about, and who should pay for them.

If you go back to the Share an Idea consultation, one of the ideas that came out of this was that the central city had become too “car-centric”. You don’t need to take my word for it – here’s Bob Parker:

“We recognise that the car-centric city we had become needed some change.”

Big issues around the world, such as climate change, brought additional pressure to the plan, and the city needed to become a leader in sustainability. The plan proposes changing all the inner-city one-way streets into two-way routes. [Parker] outlined some of the key ideas that came from the public during that process, including the need for more green spaces and the desire to become a “more iconic place” and create “a more human-scale environment.”

In 2011, the people who live in Christchurch chose a “City in a Garden”; in 2015, the handful of people who run this town have replaced that with a “City in a Carpark”.

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