Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: What Now?

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  • BenWilson,

    Homes. Infrastructure.

    Yes, I'd have thought the prioritization would be:

    1. Assess what is unsafe and mark it as no-go
    2. Get places where people are living safer and functioning
    3. Get basic infrastructure to deliver services to those places functioning
    4. Remove irreparable and unsafe buildings
    5. Save/repair anything that can be (taking cost into account of course).
    6. Think about rebuilding.

    Of course all these can happen in parallel (and have already done so), but if resources can go one way or the other, I'd order them as above. As Emma says, getting people onto real sewerage is more important than getting offices in the city built. A great many businesses will simply need to relocate. Whether they go suburban or to another city is their call.

    Which does mean that Christchurch goes through a phase of being a pockmarked landscape of empty lots. But at that point it will also be a functioning and basically safe city. I hate to say this, but pure human wariness of damage leads me to think that we can't count on there not being another major quake.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8317 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I think you'd have a tough time getting people down here to agree that the Cathedral shouldn't be rebuilt. It's sad. We need a symbol of hope. Yes, we also need some kind of monument, but that's the building that symbolises our city.

    It will be rebuilt and strengthened to be safe, no matter the cost.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16493 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Raffe Smith,

    Surely the question to be asked about the cathedral is whether it should remain a functioning church or not?

    Yeah, good luck with that one.
    It's a question that can only really be asked by the congregation, both of the Cathedral Church and of the Canterbury Diocese, and the decision either way will likely not come quickly. Abandoning a site damaged in anger and hatred (Nazi Germany was not bombed out of love) comes much easier than abandoning a site damaged by an act that many within the Church will call a random act of nature that carries no particular Godly message.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I thought, if there is more you can do, why the fuck didn't you guys do it last time?

    This week, you're going to start seeing an awful lot of anger coming through from people down here.

    And let's hope it's directed at the right people - the ones whose priorities in dismantling ECan and imposing Brownlee's will via CERRA were always about access to cheap irrigation water for the region's farmers rather than urgent action to make broken suburbs habitable.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16493 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Paul Williams,

    resources must flow into the poorer areas where people currently are without transport and can't get the basics.

    I asked myself over the last few days where the free public transport service for those suburbs is? Seems pretty elementary when supermarkets are not nearby and many don't own cars.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16493 posts Report Reply

  • Raffe Smith, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Matthew, I should have been clearer in my original post. Yes, it should be asked and answered by the congregation and the city of ChCh. But it is the logical question to ask at the outset, even if it is answered quickly (yes, let's rebuild) or if the decision takes time, as you suggest.

    Grey Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 39 posts Report Reply

  • Natasha Markham,

    While the earthquake is still so raw in everyone’s minds, it is difficult to think beyond immediate issues of survival and feelings of grief. However, at some point we will have to ask, “what now?”

    I am in agreement with Rod Oram. The future for Christchurch lies in the opportunity to re-imagine the city as a place where excellence in design, livability and sustainability becomes the status quo. This is as important for the morale of Cantabrians as it is for attracting and sustaining local and global support in the months and years ahead.

    International design competitions for urban projects and public buildings would help to keep focus and investment interest on the city once the dust settles. Involvement from relevant departments at tertiary institutes would encourage innovation and provide unparalleled learning opportunities for tomorrow’s building professionals and trades people - learning that could benefit the rest of the country and be exported globally.

    The economic implications of last Tuesday’s earthquake will affect the whole country. Our best way forward is to commit boots and all to a future Christchurch that is an exemplar for both earthquake design and urban living. There can be no room for mediocrity.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2011 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Sacha,

    It will be rebuilt and strengthened to be safe, no matter the cost.

    The upper basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi, which is no less symbolic for that city as the cathedral is for Christchurch I would say, also killed people in the 1997 earthquake, and was rebuilt inside of two years.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7351 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I asked myself over the last few days where the free public transport service for those suburbs is?

    Isn't the main bus station near the city center and also at the bottom level of a carpark building. How much rolling stock survived?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8317 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I asked myself over the last few days where the free public transport service for those suburbs is? Seems pretty elementary when supermarkets are not nearby and many don't own cars.

    Trying to find roads to drive on? New Brighton in particular is almost completely cut off from the rest of the city because so many of the bridges are down. Because of the CBD cordon, the only spot to cross the Avon east of Riccarton is the Swann St bridge. Which is, as you might imagine, really fucking congested.

    Buses, meanwhile, are being laid on to ferry the Student Volunteer Army around town.

    Friends of ours who are digging two feet of silt out of the house in New Brighton they just moved out of said yesterday they saw a light truck (pretty much the best vehicle for getting around now) with a gas barbeque on the back, driving around feeding people.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4340 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to BenWilson,

    Isn’t the main bus station near the city center and also at the bottom level of a carpark building. How much rolling stock survived?

    I don't think the depot is there, but that is a good question. It's the same building Emma's kids' school is in.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to BenWilson,

    The Bus Exchange is in the same building as my kids' school, and is really badly damaged. Also, the exits for buses are onto Lichfield St, so even if buses survived, I don't think you could drive them out.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4340 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    Doesn't have to be a fleet of buses - I've heard nothing to suggest there is any service at all linking suburbs like Brighton with centres away outside the CBD.

    They don't store all the buses in the CBD terminal - and there are the ones already out on runs.

    Roads are buggered. Smaller 4WD vehicles might be better for now, just something people can rely on. Maybe someone's onto that and the news just hasn't reached us?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16493 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Also, on the "we're all in this together" front, something my partner said that I just hadn't thought about yet. For non-location-specific work (obviously from our POV I'm talking about programming, game design, web content), how about preferentially hiring someone in Chch? Help us to stay here.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4340 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Has the building collapsed though? If not, salvaging what's in there could be a priority - replacing all the buses isn't just an expense thing, it's also time - I doubt there's huge surpluses of them in NZ.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8317 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Emma Hart,

    how about preferentially hiring someone in Chch?

    Seen that suggestion making the rounds already. It's a good one.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16493 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Ok, I am going to stop repeating you now.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Ok, I am going to stop repeating you now.

    I particularly like the way you manage to repeat me from in front.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4340 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I am good at anticipating your needs. (This probably isn't the time or place for and Emma and Megan filth-off, is it?)

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    The only reason Germany and Japan have so fully renounced aggressive war is because they looked around their devastated cities and finally understood the consequences of reckless military adventurism. The two Churches mentioned are warnings, not memorials and therefore are not suitable analogies for Christchurch's Cathedral IMHO.

    When I thought about repairing the Christchurch Cathedral my thoughts went immediately to the success of the marriage of modern glass pyramids and an old building at the Louvre. That seems to me to be the sort of thing a good repair should strive towards, neither a reproduction or a replacement but a frank acknowledgment of what has been lost and what has been preserved.

    In the meantime, a scaled up version of Napier's Tin Town (which operated for two years as the city was rebuilt) seems a good model for the CBD (Hagley park would seem to be perfect location for a tin town CBD), especially as major aftershocks may go on for some considerable time yet.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1776 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    I suspect the rebuilding of Christchurch will be the subject of many a thesis, both engineering and architectural.

    For me it seems obvious that the new Christchurch will be safe. The modern buildings survived and protected their inhabitants even through this quake. It seems that unless something really stupid happens (always possible) that what is built anew will be safe.

    There is also an opportunity to redesign the infrastructure so that people can and will go to the city heart as more than as a tourist. That will take skill from the town planners but it can be done. It is also possible to make things like light rail and bicycle routes - those things we dream about for Auckland but can't do because everything is in the way. In many ways that is technical stuff and hopefully the people skilled in those arts will be allowed to exercise their talents.

    But will it be beautiful?

    People talk about the beauty of what Christchurch was and mourn that, which is fair. But new buildings can be beautiful too, or ugly, depending on the beholder, but worst of all they can be boring. IMO I don't mind if I hate some of the new Christchurch but what I really don't want is to be bored by it. Let architects loose and let them build striking new things, better yet make them build striking new things. Don't let them succumb to the mediocre or the lowest common denominator. Don't rush new buildings up quickly. Yes some people will hate the new buildings but that's fine. And that doesn't mean everything has to co-ordinate either, it's not a theme park it's a city and great cities are diverse.

    Spend that extra money to make Christchurch spectacular.

    And sure I don't mind paying for it, really I don't mind. The people of Christchurch have suffered and if it costs me some tax dollars to give them back something really good, then I don't mind.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3262 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I would agree that one of the most productive ways to help people in Chch, and maybe our own economy, is to create jobs based there. I'm a bit wary of the "we're all in it together" thing, really. We can help out where possible, we can empathise and support, but at the end of the day, the only people who are in any given situation together are those to whom it has happened. It's a shared experience, and one must be careful not to take on ownership of others' pain.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    The main bus depot’s out on the corner of Fitzgerald and Moorhouse. I have no idea how the depot stood up to the quake, but obviously given timing of quake many/most buses will have been out en route. We had two kinds of buses when we were being ferried around when out digging silt: one was ex-CBS crappy rattler, and the other was a newer machine that seemed pretty good. The problem was that they could barely negotiate the streets in the part of town.

    There will have been at most ten-twenty buses in the bus exchange itself, it’s not that big a building.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1321 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    The only reason Germany and Japan have so fully renounced aggressive war is because they looked around their devastated cities and finally understood the consequences of reckless military adventurism.

    I don't think it's the only reason. Some of it was also because the Allies renounced the idea of endlessly punishing them for it, and instead rebuilt those countries, rather than squeezing their throats with sanctions.

    But yes, I think that we don't want to look to Japan and Germany for inspiration about how to deal with destruction. The victors would be more appropriate, if we must substitute war as the disaster.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8317 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Emma Hart,

    For non-location-specific work (obviously from our POV I’m talking about programming, game design, web content), how about preferentially hiring someone in Chch? Help us to stay here.

    We have a contractor who was based in Christchurch, but due to schooling, and damage to their area, has temporarily relocated, continuing his work elsewhere for the time being. We are about to embark on a further contract, and I’m sure no one would begrudge the continuing arrangement with people from Christchurch who are displaced while things get better. ‘Help them get back there’ might be important too.

    It’s a shared experience, and one must be careful not to take on ownership of others’ pain.

    +1

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

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