The Post-Earthquake City
Disaster and Recovery in Christchurch, New Zealand
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This book critically assesses Christchurch, New Zealand as an evolving post-earthquake city. It examines the impact of the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquake sequence, employing a chronological structure to consider ‘damage and displacement’, ‘recovery and renewal’, and ‘the city in transition’.
It offers a framework for understanding the multiple experiences and realities of post-earthquake recovery in Christchurch, New Zealand. It details how the rebuilding of the city has occurred, and examines what has arisen in the context of an unprecedented opportunity to refashion land uses and social experience from the ground up. A recurring tension is observed between the desire and tendency of some to reproduce previous urban orthodoxies and the experimental efforts of others to fashion new cultures of progressive place-making and attention to the more-than-human city. The book offers several lessons for understanding disaster recovery in cities. It illuminates the opportunities disasters create for both the reassertion of the familiar and the emergence of the new; highlights the divergence of lived experience during recovery; and considers the extent to which a post-disaster city is prepared for likely climate futures.
The book will be valuable reading for critical disaster researchers as well as geographers, sociologists, urban planners and policy makers interested in disaster recovery.
Table of Contents
The post-disaster city of Christchurch
Theorising disaster-affected places
Positioning the book
Structure of the book
DAMAGE and DISPLACEMENT
2. The fracturing of a vulnerable city
Vulnerability, resilience and security
Technocratic security: insurance and building codes
The ecology of the earthquake sequence
Death and destruction
Rapid disaster response
3. Impacts on households and communities
A differentiated urban landscape: patterns and movements
Land zoning and insurance claims
The case of Southshore
Psycho-social distress and mental well-being
Community and neighbourhood expressions of support
RECOVERY AND RENEWAL
4. Governance and the cartographies of recovery
Issues of governance
Panoptical maps and plans
Business activation alliances
Heritages lost and found
From rebuild to regeneration
5. Housing recovery
Urban planning and residential real estate development
Christchurch’s pre-earthquake housing path
Housing damage, insurance and recovery planning
Central city housing development
New housing in the satellite greenfields
6. City centre recovery and commercial property investment
Property investment decision-making and calculative practices
Responding to loss in the central city
Making space for the commercial rebuild
Property owners and investors respond
The progress of the central city rebuild
7. Voluntary and community sector responses
The background to post-disaster voluntarism in Christchurch
Faith-based organization: established and new forms of voluntarism
Resident-led advocacy and activism
Emergent voluntarism: the Student Volunteer Army
THE CITY IN TRANSITION
8. From transitional activities to place-making
A cultural politics of place
Developing and performing the transitional city
Transitional ethics, aesthetics and affective communities
Mature transition: making a sustainable contribution?
9. Landscapes of consumption
Creating landscapes of consumption
Retailing, hospitality and experiments in business
The role of anchor projects in revitalisation
Cultural heritage and restorations
10. The eastern suburbs
Disruption and recovery in the eastern suburbs
Availability of affordable housing
The residential red zone
Sport and recreation facilities
The forgotten east?
11. The more-than-human city
The ‘more-than-human’ city
Disturbing the entrenchment
Two narratives of contest
12. The residential red zone: the city’s field of dreams?
Urban futures and the 21st century city
Experiments in governance
Paul Cloke was Emeritus Professor of Human Geography at the University of Exeter. His research interests included rural geography, social change, ethical geographies, and the role of the third sector. Paul published a number of papers with New Zealand colleagues (including each of us) and co-authored a number of academic articles on aspects of the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes. During his career he produced over 40 books, including the co-authored Geographies of Postsecularity: Re-envisioning Politics, Subjectivity and Ethics (Routledge 2019). In 2022 Paul was awarded the Royal Geographical Society’s Victoria Medal for his contribution to rural geography and to the wider discipline.
David Conradson is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Canterbury. His current research examines the lived experience of disrupted environments, with a focus on processes that shape individual and collective well-being. He has been involved in a number of funded research projects examining post-disaster recovery in Christchurch, with publications from this work in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Earthquake Spectra, and a series of book chapters. Previously an editor of Social and Cultural Geography, he is currently the Managing Editor of the New Zealand Geographer.
Eric Pawson is Emeritus Professor of Geography at the University of Canterbury. He retains an active interest in research, contributing to the Cambridge Handbook of Undergraduate Research (2022) and the fifth edition of Qualitative Research in Human Geography (2021). His thematic interests are in environmental history and environmental governance, with publications including The New Biological Economy (2018). He has been actively involved in a range of organisations and initiatives in post-earthquake Christchurch, particularly in and about the residential red zone. He co-founded the Ōtākaro Living Laboratory Trust and has chaired the Waitākairi Ecosanctuary Trust.
Harvey C. Perkins is Emeritus Professor of Planning at the University of Auckland and Past President of the New Zealand Geographical Society. He was formerly Professor of Human Geography at Lincoln University in Christchurch. His research focuses on urban and rural change, with a strong housing and built environment emphasis, and includes work on residential intensification, growth management and the relationships between house and home. He is involved in the New Zealand National Science Challenge Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities: Ko Ngā Wā Kāinga Hei Whakamāhorahora, where he co-leads a study of local regeneration initiatives in mid-sized regional settlements.