Here is Jurg’s report for this year’s AGM – a good summary of what we have done:
Viva Report – AGM – July 2017
Jürg: Welcome to this year’s Viva Project AGM. It is with much pleasure that we share a brief summary of Viva’s activities over the past year.
Viva! was formed 5½ years ago – as a result of the earthquakes, to influence sustainable & community-focused development in the re-build of Christchurch.
“To Create Vibrant Urban Villages, Innovative and Inspiring Examples of Sustainable Design and Connected Community”.
During this time we networked and connected with more people, learned much, and grown the Viva community to ~600 people. The community now includes people from all around New Zealand and the world, but of course mostly local people who don’t merely want to “fix Christchurch” – but rebuild it in a way that is better, more connected and resilient than before.
Throughout the year, we continued looking for land to start the development of our first inner city village, and although it got close a couple of times, we are still looking. In July/August last year there was an interesting piece of land on the corner of Madras and Kilmore streets for sale, which in the end unfortunately went to auction (very difficult for us to bid at an auction). In October, we put in an offer for land in Opawa (Bunyan Street), which unfortunately wasn’t accepted. This land is still for sale, however in our recent bus trip and subsequent workshop the community expressed a strong preference for a more central site.
The bus trip also took us to the old Bowling Club site in Salisbury Street, which is probably currently our most interesting inner city site! In the workshop following the bus trip we estimated how much a home, incl. land would likely cost in this location and very disappointingly, the prices would be outside the reach of many people in our community! Thanks to the great work from Geoff Butcher (our economist on the core team), Steven Wells (our QS) and most recently Mitchell Cole (an architect in our community) we now have some good models of working out land, design and construction costs, and resulting house prices. It is REALLY hard to make these numbers stack up and create affordable homes for our community! The most significant cost component are for the construction materials and labour, so we’re planning an in-depth workshop on this in the very near future. There must be a way!!
We also approached (again) the CCC, plus their commercial development arm – Development Christchurch Ltd (DCL) late last year, for any opportunities to collaborate. Their vision for Christchurch is at least partially aligned with ours, and they are expecting to take over significant land parcels from the CCC for development, however as their development manager Camia Young said herself: “Don’t hold your breath …”!
We had some very interesting networking meetings throughout the year. Highlights included Colin Meurk’s talk on landscaping in a co-housing environment, Nick Hubbard on the merits of building with Structural Insulated Panels or SIPs, and one of my favourites, the end of year quiz!
We explored the Nightingale Model, which might support us in the future with their interesting approach to financing and ownership. The model was developed by a group of Australian architects. There is now a local Christchurch group as well (not active?).
About 50 of you responded to our online survey about what you think is important for the Viva Project. Thank you for your thoughts – they are now guiding our direction.
All this would not be possible without the hard work by our core team members! Please can you all stand up now (there is … and …, etc., plus list the ones who couldn’t make it tonight).
Thank you all for your dedication and commitment. I particularly enjoy our early morning meetings at Black Betty’s and the friendship we now share! Without this, I for one would have given up by now! The other reason why we are still going, and going stronger than ever maybe is our powerhouse JANE! Her unwavering passion and drive has us all inspired to pursue our vision and get our damn first village built!
On behalf of the Viva community I also acknowledge the generous support from our professionals on the team – Karen Overend, Steven Wells, Mitchell Cole, and most recently Rob Churcher from Arcus.
We will need you all in the future!
And last but not least, to you people, the Viva! Community – thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your on-going commitment and belief in the aspirations of Viva! – You are The Viva Project – and together we are making a difference.
Jane Quigley and Jürg Hönger
Co-convenors The Viva! Project