Bright minds and big ideas bring innovation and vitality to the Central City, and a unique set of planning rules keep us all on the same page.

alleyway with two cars at the endWhatever your development interests, let us help you make the most of the opportunities

The District Plan and the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan has created a dynamic Central City framework. 

These call for a strong retail and commercial focus, a rapid increase in residential households, and a green and accessible setting, all supported by a high-functioning infrastructure.

Building a unique place

Here's what makes the Central City unique:

  • A city built for people.
  • A strong residential, retail and commercial core with access to green spaces.
  • A compact, convenient and accessible layout.
  • An active focus on diverse, high-density residential development.
  • A cityscape of 'human scale'.
  • An interesting mix of heritage and contemporary architecture.
  • Open, modern buildings with engaging street appeal.
  • Enlivened public spaces with street activities and artworks that bring vibrancy, buzz and interest around town.
  • Choices for getting in and around the Central City:
    • An efficient public transport system.
    • An extensive cycleway network and dedicated bike parking.
    • Walkable, pedestrian-friendly streets and laneways.
    • A range of eScooter providers.


Building to planning requirements - residential

Under the District Plan, residential development can occur right across the Central City.

The District Plan also allows for a higher density of residential development in the Central City than elsewhere and a mixture of development activities within close proximity of one another.

With this in mind, there are a number of Central City planning requirements you'll need to take into consideration when scoping, planning and designing your development.  Here's a summary of the key planning matters - refer to the District Plan or get in touch with our duty planner at for more information.

 Site density requirements

  • At least one house per 200 square metres is required within the Central City Residential Zone (equivalent to 50 houses per hectare). For all other zones in the Central City there is no minimum site density requirement. Instead the density of a residential development is shaped by the relevant built form standards including outdoor living, landscaping and minimum net floor area requirements.

On-site amenity

 What needs to be provided:

  • Outdoor living space: Make an allowance for the outdoor living space standards which set out minimum area and dimension requirements.
  • Minimum net floor area requirements: To ensure a certain level of amenity for residential occupants there are minimum net floor area requirements for studios, 1, 2 and 3+ bedroom households.
  • Service and storage spaces: Make provision for the storage of items such as sports gear, bikes, bins, and for household activities such as drying laundry.
  • Noise reduction: With a mixture of activities within close proximity to one another, Central City residential developments are required to achieve a minimum level of noise attenuation.

Built form and amenity

 What to consider and provide:

  • Landscaping: Depending upon the location and zoning of your site, you will need to provide landscaping at road and/or internal boundaries. Within the Central City Residential Zone specifically, a minimum of 20% of the site should be allowed for landscaping. Native planting is preferred.
  • Maximum building height: Medium-rise buildings are encouraged in the Central City. Permitted heights for buildings are outlined in the Central City Maximum Building Height Planning Map and range between 8m-30m.
  • Urban design:  To ensure that appropriate building form and design is achieved your residential development will need to have regard for Urban Design Assessment matters and principles.

Parking requirements

  • Residential developments within the Central City are not required to provide on-site car or mobility parking.
  • Provision must be made for cycle parking.

How can we help?

Have questions, need guidance or can't find what you're looking for about building by the rules? Get in touch with our duty planner at