Five Things The SF Bay Area Can Learn From the Christchurch, NZ Earthquakes

Christchurch, 2015. Photo: Zehara Robinson.

We will need our neighbors more than ever.

A “long drop” (homemade outhouse) design on display at Quake City museum. Photo: Zehara Robinson

Your home or business may not be accessible for a long time.

New Zealand’s military provides assistance at a collapsed building. Christchurch, 2011. Photo: New Zealand Defense Forces Some Rights Reserved.
Street art on empty buildings, downtown Christchurch 2015.

Recovery will take longer than we want it to.

Search and rescue markings can still be seen on abandoned buildings downtown. Christchurch, 2015. Photo: Zehara Robinson
Vacant buildings still fill the central city 4 years after the earthquakes. Christchurch, 2015.
“Do not demolish” sign marks a building that someone would like to preserve, Christchurch, 2015. Photo: Lowell Robinson.

Art and community engagement will help.

A washing machine blasts music amid the rubble. Photo: Lowell Robinson.
Under the lid of the washing machine is a plug for our music device. Photo: Lowell Robinson
It’s a powerful thing to dance in the context of such loss. Christchurch 2015.
Oversized armchairs mark the future site of the Central Library. Photo: Zehara Robinson
A pile of gravel faces the mini-park at the future Central Library site. Photo: Lowell Robinson
A living space in the shape of a Maori meeting house is found outside the broken Cathedral. Photo: Lowell Robinson.
The city’s creative rebirth included the Re:START shopping mall made of shipping containers, which brought commercial life back to downtown Christchurch. Photo: Lowell Robinson
Street art at a parklet by Greening the Rubble in downtown Christchurch.

Our city will never be the same again.

8,000 homes were purchased by the national government and demolished in the residential red zones, leaving behind empty lots that some hope to turn into a nature preserve. Others worry the land will be resold at a profit.
“accept loss forever” — Christchurch graffiti, 2015. Photo: Lowell Robinson.
Street art on an abandoned building, downtown Christchurch 2015. Photo: Zehara Robinson

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Gradiva Couzin

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