Dr. Susan Krumdieck is an energy researcher and a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Canterbury. I met her earlier this year at the 2013 NERI Energy Conference, where she gave a spoken presentation and was listed as an author for five different posters being presented!
Susan argues that the current recovery and growth strategies for Christchurch, put in place since the earthquakes, are taking the city down the wrong path. For example, the Land Use Recovery Plan (LURP) “is a short sighted and dangerous plan for the city in several ways: it puts the cohesion of the city at risk, pulling the people from the city center, it will be very expensive to build, and people will lose a lot of money in property that will not give a return on their investment”.
The LURP seems likely to be ratified today, although things seem to be complicated…
Working with other researchers, Susan has proposed an alternate growth plan for Christchurch: “to redevelop within the city in a way that would re-energize the city, boost the economy and provide affordable housing”. In particular, the team suggested more intensive redevelopment of the Riccarton area as a way of beginning this process.
Susan has put together a couple of videos explaining her team’s proposals. The first one, below, is four minutes long and a pretty good introduction to her take on the situation.
The second one, below, is a 48 minute public seminar, and goes through the Christchurch situation and the researchers’ proposals in more detail.
Note that both videos, if you open them in Youtube rather than here on the site (click the “Youtube” button in the lower right of the video screen), have notes and comments which explain a bit more. In brief:
The ‘From the Ground Up’ project had the simple objectives of developing a plan to house 15,000 people within the urban boundary in a way that provides a rate of return on investment over 10% for developers, provides warm, low-energy sustainable housing for 20,000 people across the spectrum of income levels, which can adapt to zero oil-based transport and which can drive development of urban infrastructure like electric trams and the central city. The project used a methodology based on science, engineering, and research of best practice. The project resulted in a plan for “New Riccarton” a re-build of an old suburb into a new urban area with all the amenities.
We’ll hopefully be hearing more from Susan in the future – perhaps including some guest posts.