City returning to its vibrant best

October 22, 2013
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A City Recovers: Christchurch Two Years After the Quakes, by The Press (Random House, RRP $50):

More than two years after the devastating September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes that left Christchurch in ruins, this book takes a look at the recovery and reorganisation of our garden city.

We all watched in shock after the quakes, particularly the deadly 2011 aftershock, as the city tried to pick up the pieces: we grieved as a nation for the lost lives and did what we could to support the survivors through cash donations, offers of places to stay outside the shaky zone for a day or two, or even a few weeks and anything else we thought might help.

As time has gone by, it has become easy for those of us who are outside of the area to forget just how much work it will still take to recover from the quakes: beyond those initial days and weeks of broken buildings and the rising death toll, the city has picked itself up and got on with things but the demolition work continues, many businesses are still trying to get back to normal and some homeowners are still living in less than ideal conditions.

A City Recovers is a review of Christchurch two years down the track, looking at the social, economic and demographic changes and implications for a city that was reshaped by Mother Nature.

The inner-city has been destroyed by both the earthquakes and the necessary demolitions that have followed but a new city has popped up, reshaped and in many ways reinvigorated. However, the impact of the quakes goes beyond buildings, and this book pulls together and analyses all the information – from business implications to the now largely unliveable eastern suburbs, from the human toll to the loss of so many of the city’s heritage buildings.

A fascinating review of Christchurch two years after the earthquakes’ devastation, with analysis of the social, economic and demographic changes and implications.

Packed with photographs of the post-quake inner-city, A City Recovers serves as a poignant look at how what was once one of most beautiful cities has been left forever changed by the quakes.

Chapter-by-chapter, it takes the reader through the devastation and grief of the loss of life, buildings and history, then moves on to look at the politics both before and after the quakes. It also covers the Royal Commission, the state of the property market, insurance issues, schools, the people and the infrastructure.

It also looks to the future of Christchurch and – despite the tragedy of 182 lives lost, 6659 people injured and the destruction of buildings, homes and businesses – shows the city is returning to its once vibrant self.

 

Jillian Allison-Aitken

I come from the other land down under, where men are men, and sheep are nervous. I'm a sub-editor and in the past have been a proof-reader, news editor and web editor. I am also an ex-columnist, and book and software reviewer for the local daily newspaper.I still read. A lot. And surf the web. Also a lot.You'll find a little about both of those pastimes here, and on By George.

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