Community commodified: the Prestons Road residential subdivision
Residential subdivisions on the urban fringes of cities are popular throughout New Zealand. Our urban population pattern is becoming increasingly decentralised, with most New Zealanders preferring to live in “low-density, `suburban’ residential areas” (Perkins & Thorns, 2001, p. 644). Several factors have contributed to the rapid growth in the number of new residential subdivisions around Christchurch’s urban fringe. The most significant of these has been the introduction of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). ‘Prestons’, which has been proposed in Christchurch, is one such residential subdivision. This new estate will comprise of 2500 houses and 6000 residents. The proposed site is west of Marshland Road, bisected by Prestons Road, 7.5 kilometres northeast of Cathedral Square. An increasing number of these new subdivisions on the urban fringe seem to have been influenced by the principles of new urbanism (Winstanley et al., 2003). An important foundation of new urbanism is the idea of an urban village. The most obvious aspect of the influence of new urbanism on the Prestons subdivision is the effort to nurture social interaction. Instead of being referred to as a new town or a new suburb, Prestons is referred to as a new community. The developers seem to be relying on a master plan to create a sense of community within their subdivision.‘Community’ and ‘neighbourhood’ are terms that Prestons’ developers seem to use synonymously throughout their advertising rhetoric.... [Show full abstract]
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