Space for almost 5000 new homes in Christchurch will be available if the Environment Court approves an agreement between Canterbury councils, developers and landowners.
The new urban land would give more options for people forced to abandon quake-wrecked land.
The Environment Court is hearing a proposal to include more greenfield land within expanded urban limits to the northeast of the city.
The Canterbury regional, Christchurch City, Waimakariri and Selwyn District councils have the support of 10 landowners and developers to bring land in the Marshland area within city boundaries.
At present, the Marshland area lies just north of the city's wrecked eastern suburbs.
Regional council commissioner Peter Skelton says the court has to rule whether the idea meets Resource Management Act requirements.
Mr Skelton says making new land available will give new choices to people affected by the Government announcement on Thursday on abandoning unstable land.
Previous attempts to find new housing areas include Bottle Lake 10km north of Christchurch and Ngai Tahu's extensive land holdings around the city.