On the 4th off September 2010 Christchurch was hit by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake causing widespread damage. The city was just getting back on its feet again when a massive 6.3 magnitude after-shock struck very close to the city at 12:51pm on Tuesday 22nd February 2011. The city suffered horrific damage a loss of life.
Some reports say that as up to one third of buildings in the CBD collapsed or will need to be demolished. 50,000 people work in the CBD. Cantabrians are a strong bunch and discussions about the reconstruction of our city centre are already taking place.
While 60% of Christchurch’s economy comes from the agriculture sector, the city also has strong tourism and hi-tech sectors. While we shouldn’t forget our history and I am a fan of our historic buildings, I think we have an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity to reinvent ourselves as a modern, highly connected city that is a showcase for sustainability, technology and modern architecture.
Here are the things I would like to see in our rebuild central city:
- Modern low-rise buildings. Not concrete boxes, but attractive modern architecture.
- Use green technologies for heating, cooling, power etc
- Use the highest standards for earthquake strengthening to ensure people trust the buildings once more.
- Green spaces with excellent walking and cycling access.
- Trams, not just for tourists but for public transport in around the CBD. Keep buses for the suburbs.
- Rebuild our iconic Catherdal.
- Provide fibre connectivity to all new buildings.
- Encourage technology, research and corporate business back into the CBD.
- Celebrate our history by rebuilding historic buildings, but in a way that will not detract from their beauty or risk peoples lives in the future.
- Bring tourists back to the city with hotels, venues, cafe’s and bars.
In my view it is essential that we attract people and businesses back to the CBD. People must feel safe and have a reason to move back. I think we should look forward and build a Christchurch for the future, rather than a rebuilding one from the past. We must attract the right people and businesses to the CBD by building an environment that is attractive to them.
I love Christchurch, it is the place I choose to be. Lets build a better city for all!