Universities – Central City or Suburban?

By Michael Edmonds 16/05/2011 6


As various plans are proposed for the rebuild of Christchurch, there is a push from some sectors to move the University of Canterbury back into the central city.

Now I don’t know about you, but I have always found central city universities such as Auckland and Otago to be quite frustrating. It’s hard to find parking, when you do find it it is expensive and when walking around these universities I find it difficult to find where things are and where the university begins and ends.

I much prefer suburban universities. Massey, Canterbury and Lincoln are my favourite uinversities. They are green, spacious, and the parking is usually quite reasonable in availability and cost.

I suspect this push is coming from central city business owners who see students as a potential source of income. Though I wonder if they would be the same people who jump up and down and complain about drunken students?

It appears that the Vice Chancellor of Canterbury also agrees with me, for a lot of other good reasons. The current University of Canterbury has some excellent resources including a recently completed $32 million dollar biological sciences building. The campus still has plenty of room to develop if it needs to, and there is plenty of accommodation for students nearby.

The rebuild of Christchurch is a chance to innovate and engage in some forward thinking. Moving the university back to the central city is going backwards not forwards.


6 Responses to “Universities – Central City or Suburban?”

  • It beggars belief that Victoria remains perched on the fault line as as well as scattered around Port Nicolson’s edge.

    Why not move it out the old CIT campus in Upper Hutt.

  • Hi Alison

    Waikato is the only University in NZ I haven’t had the chance to visit yet. So I can’t from my own observation state how nice it is.
    I will probably be at a conference there in December this year, so will finally be able to see its green splendor.

  • Perhaps it depends on the city in question: Cambridge uni is in the centre, but is fantastic. Maybe the underlying issue is the poor transport & recreational facilities around our cities?

  • Moving the university out of the central city was one of the first steps to turning Christchurch into a ‘donut’ city. Also just on your point re the push coming from business owners who just want to make money from the students – do you have a problem with private enterprise? For the central city to become vibrant again people need to be there spending money – students money is just as good as any. One last point – wouldn’t the international students prefer to be ‘where the action is’ rather than stuck out in some drab suburb? Time to come down out of that ivory tower me thinks.

  • Greg Morrison,

    Perhaps you would like to read my blog a bit more carefully. I have no problem with private enterprise, however, if the decision to move the university to the city is being paid for by rate payers not private enterprise and potential problems such as parking are being overlooked then I do have a problem.

    If you think there are solutions to parking then by all mean spell them out and make a rational case for having the university in the city. I have visited most universities in NZ and from my perspective find that those universities outside of the central cities work best. You obviously have a different perspective so feel free to make your case based with points of fact rather than rely on snide and dismissive comments about “ivory towers”.