A vibrant residential population helps support business growth and development, and creates a high level of activity day and night. The recovery of the central city is vital for the economic recovery of Christchurch and the wider region.

Suburban and rural centres play an important role in providing accessible services for communities and are a focal point for social and economic activity. Well-designed centres are people-focused, providing social hubs which meet the needs of the community.

What this means for our district

  • More people, including families, live in the Central City.
  • The Central City is a place residents, workers, and visitors enjoy being.
  • The Central City is a diverse and prosperous business centre.
  • Well-designed public spaces enhance the Central City and draw people in, day and night.
  • Suburban and rural centres are well-designed and meet the needs of the community, providing appropriate local services, employment, and opportunities for social interaction.

How we are contributing

We are coordinating a cross-agency Central City Promotion Group to help market the Central City as a great place to visit, work, invest and live. Council is working hard to improve the condition, safety and accessibility of streets and public spaces in the Central City.

Several suburban centre master plans have funding to improve their streetscape. A new Central City Residential Programme is in development, and the Enliven Places Programme is supporting activity in the Central City and along the Ōtākaro Avon River. We are also coordinating a programme to promote, support and build social innovation and social enterprise in Christchurch.

How you can help

Come and explore what's new in Central City, and support local businesses. Get involved in events and support Gap Filler(external link) and other organisations that help bring life to the city.

Take a look at the Shape your place(external link) toolkit which explains how you and your community can work with Council to enhance your neighbourhood and bring your ideas to life.

How we are doing

Status What do we want to achieve? What has happened?
Mixed result

Mixed Results

More people living in the Central City

At June 2019, there were 6390 people living in the Central City. This is 1900 fewer than before the earthquakes. Further information.

Mixed result

Mixed Results

Satisfaction with the range of things to do in the Central City

Almost 70% of respondents agreed there is a range of things to do in the Central City for everyone, with 16% disagreeing. Further information.
Mixed result
Mixed Results

Christchurch residents visiting the Central City

The proportion of residents visiting the Central City at least once a week for non-work purposes increased from 31% to 46% between 2016 and 2019. Further information.
Mixed result
Mixed Results
Visitors from outside of Christchurch are staying in the Central City In 2019, guest nights in the four avenues were two-thirds of what they were pre-earthquakes. However, guest nights have increased by almost 400% since 2012. Further information.
Positive result
PositiveResult
Overall visitor experience in Christchurch Visitors rate their overall experience of Christchurch as 8.5 out of 10 and have consistently rated it at over 8 since 2013/14. Further information.
Mixed result
Mixed Results
Employment in the four avenues Employment in the Central City by February 2019 had recovered to 40,950. This is still 10,350 employees below the pre-earthquake number of employees at 51,300. Further information.
Positive result
PositiveResult

Retail sales in the four avenues

Retail sales in the four avenues have increased by 70% since June 2012 to reach $783 million by June 2019. Further information.
Positive result
PositiveResult

Satisfaction with new buildings, streetscapes and open spaces

71% of respondents are satisfied with the look and feel of new buildings, while 72% are satisfied with the look and feel of streetscapes and open space in the Central City. Further information.
Mixed result
Mixed Results

Safety in the four avenues

Over 90% of people feel safe in the Central City during the day, however this proportion decreases to 54% after dark. Further information.

People living in the Central City

Before the 2010–2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence, the estimated population in the Central City was 8,280 at June 2010. 

The impact of the earthquakes on the housing stock resulted in the population declining to a low point in 2014 with 5050 people. As a result dwellings have been rebuilt, repaired and new developments, the population has increased by 1340 people to reach an estimated 6390 people at June 2019.   

The council would like the Central City population to reach 20,000 people by 2028.  More information on how it is planning to achieve this target can be found here.

 

Satisfaction with the range of things to do in the Central City

In 2019, almost 70% of respondents to the Life in Christchurch survey were satisfied with the range of things to do in the Central City for all people, compared with 60% in 2017.

Slightly more (74%) felt there was a range of things to do specifically for families and children, up from 67% in 2017.

The proportion of people who felt there was not a range of things to do in the Central City fell from 25% to 16% between 2017 and 2019. Those who felt there was not a range of things to do specifically for children and families fell from 14% to 9%.

Christchurch residents visiting the Central City

Residents are visiting the Central City for non-work/non-education reasons more frequently. In 2019, around 46% of residents visited the Central City once a week or more for non-work purposes, compared with 31% in 2016.

The proportion who reported they visited the Central City less than once a month for non-work/non-education reasons fell from 30% to 17% between 2016 and 2019.

Visitors from outside of Christchurch are staying in the Central City

From 1998 to 2010, the number of guest nights in commercial visitor accommodation such as hotels, backpackers and motels in the Central City increased by around 62,000 per year, to peak before the earthquakes at 1.7 million guest nights per year (June 2010).

The earthquakes had a catastrophic impact on the accommodation capacity in the Central City, especially on hotels and backpackers. As a result of this and the damage to the Central City, guest nights decreased by 87% to 227,000 in 2012.

Since 2010, guest nights have increased by 387% to 1.2 million in the year ended June 2019.

Overall visitor experience in Christchurch

The overall visitor experience of Christchurch is likely to be influenced by their experience of the Central City.  Visitors rated their overall experience of the City as 8.5 out of 10 in the summer of 2017/18.  This has generally been over 8 since the 2013/14 summer.

New Zealand and Australian visitors tend to rate their overall experience slightly higher than other international visitors.

Central city employment

Employment in the four avenues grew slowly from 46,000 at February 2000 to 53,600 in 2005. From this peak, the employment in the four avenues declined to 51,300 at February 2010 before the Canterbury Earthquake sequence.

The impact of the earthquakes can be seen in the 2012 year with a loss of 22,500 employees since 2010.

Since 2012 employment in the four avenues recovered by 10,620 people to 40,950 at February 2019.  This is just over halfway to the pre-earthquakes employment level. 

Employment growth in the years to February 2017 and 2018 averaged 3500 employees (or 10%) per year, however this has slowed to 1300 in the year to February 2019.

Retail sales in the four avenues

The total value of electronic card retail transactions in the Central City increased from $460 million in the year ending June 2012 to $783 million by June 2019. 

The Central City industry with the greatest percentage growth since the year to June 2016 was apparel and personal, with growth of 113%, followed by accommodation (78%) and hospitality (71%).

Satisfaction with new buildings, streetscapes and open spaces

Generally residents view the new buildings in the Central City positively, with 71% satisfied or very satisfied with the look and feel of new buildings in the 2019 Life in Christchurch survey. Less than 14% were dissatisfied. These results have improved since the 2017 and 2018 surveys.

There are similar feelings towards the look and feel of streetscapes and open spaces in the Central City, with a noticeable improvement since 2018. This may be due to the completion of a number of projects, such as Manchester Street landscaping and Rauora Park in the East Frame.

In 2019, 72% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the look and feel of streetscapes and open spaces in the Central City, compared with 55% in 2017.

Safety in the four avenues

People feel safe in the Central City during the day time, with over 90% saying they felt fairly or very safe in the Life in Christchurch survey series, dating back to 2017. 

However people's perceptions of safety at night are much lower with around half (54%) stating they felt fairly or very safe in the Central City after dark. In 2019, 8% stated they felt very unsafe after dark, an improvement from 14% in 2017.

The Quality of Life survey has similar findings for perceptions of safety after dark. In 2018, 48% of respondents felt a bit unsafe or very unsafe in the Central City after dark. This has decreased from 63% in 2008. 

People reported feeling unsafe in the Central City at night largely due to perceptions around unsafe people or unsafe environments.

In 2019, of those who indicated that they felt unsafe in the Central City at night, the most common reasons for feeling like this was due to people under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol (70% of those who felt unsafe at night), anti-social behaviour (62%) and isolated areas (53%). These results are similar to previous years.

There have been steady annual increases in the proportion of respondents citing the presence of beggars and homeless people in the streets as a reason for feeling unsafe at night. Those who answered 'begging' increased from 27 to 45% between 2017 and 2019, while those who answered 'homeless people' increased from 31 to 48% over the same period.

Further information

Please email monitor@ccc.govt.nz for further information.

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