The Rockefeller Foundation has named Christchurch as one of the world’s 33 resilient cities.
Three years ago, Christchurch experienced a sequence of earthquakes, which included an aftershock that produced the highest peak ground accelerations on record. The initial earthquake had a devastating effect on residential suburbs affected by liquefaction and lateral spread. Hundreds of commercial buildings have been demolished and thousands of homes have had to be rebuilt. Extensive damage was caused to schools and hospitals, and essential infrastructure. Yet, the city was able to re-establish essential functions quickly. The economy did not suffer as would be expected, due to the well-planned location of revenue-generating activities. The aftershocks continue today—the city has experienced more than 12,000 since 2010. And residents’ mind-set has changed following the shared experience. The city and its people are an example of a city “bouncing back.” Developing a resilience plan is a priority for the city’s recovery so communities, buildings and infrastructure and systems are better prepared to withstand catastrophic events.
Those of us who visit occasionally have some understanding of the challenges faced by, and still facing, the city.
But only those who live there can appreciate what the city and its people have gone, and continue to go, through.
You can not blame those who have decided to move elsewhere. But nor can you fail to admire those who have stayed and are doing their best to rebuild the city, not just in a physical sense but as a community.
Their resilience is an inspiration.