Central city  |  13 May 2019

Christchurch residents’ sense of pride in their city centre is growing.

Findings of Christchurch City Council’s first Life in Christchurch survey for 2019 show that nearly two-thirds of survey respondents say Christchurch’s city centre engenders a sense of pride.

People crossing the intersection next to the EntX cinema complex.

The opening of new facilities like the EntX cinema complex is drawing more people into Christchurch's city centre.

When quizzed about how they felt about the central city, three-quarters of the 2900 people surveyed indicated they felt positive about the area.

That is an improvement on last year when only 67 per cent of survey respondents reported feeling positive about the central city.

“In the past 12 months we have seen Tūranga and the EntX cinema complex open, the riverside Promenade finished, the convention centre take shape, and many new shops and businesses move into the central city.

"We have also had some great events like the Bread & Circus Buskers Festival and the South Island Lantern Festival that have given visitors and residents reasons to come into the central city and I think people are now starting to realise what an exciting place it is,’’ says Christchurch City Council Head of Urban Regeneration, Design and Heritage Carolyn Ingles.

“It was pleasing that the most common word people used to describe the central city was ‘vibrant’, but we know that we need to get more people living in the central city if we want it to be a lively, attractive place around the clock.

“Project 8011, which was launched by the Council last year, is all about encouraging residential development so that we can achieve our target of having 20,000 people living in the central city by 2020.

“Among the encouraging findings in this survey is that 26 per cent of the respondents who currently live outside the city centre say they would consider moving into the central city, either in the next one to two years or once the rebuild is complete,’’ Ms Ingles says.

In another positive trend, the proportion of people who agree the central city provides a range of things for all people to do has increased by 14 per cent to 68 per cent – the best result since surveying began in 2016.

People are also feeling safer in the central city. The proportion of people who feel very safe in the central city during the day has increased by 2 per cent while the proportion who feel safe or very safe at night has increased by 13 per cent since 2017.

“The feeling of safety has been increasing since 2017, which is very positive to see. It is likely this is a result of more people returning to the central city as businesses open and developments are completed. More people in the central city and fewer vacant spaces make people feel more at ease,'' Ms Ingles says.

Other survey findings show that:

  • People’s perceptions of how easy it is to travel in the central city - by car, by bike, and on foot - have all improved between 2017 and 2019.
  • Car is still the most common mode of transport for those travelling to the central city but a growing number of people think the central city is a safe place for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Roadworks and road closures remain the main reason for respondents finding it hard to travel in the central city.
  • Survey respondents are most likely to recommend spending time at Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens to a visiting friend or someone new to Christchurch, followed by spending time in Tūranga.

The Council’s Life in Christchurch survey programme comprises of a series of targeted surveys covering a range of topics related to life in Christchurch. This first survey focused solely on the central city.