Sunday, December 1, 2013

Restarting a city - New Zealand's Christchurch

185 seats, 185 dead - an earthquake memorial in Christchurch (note the small seats for  children who perished)
Date: Tues, Feb 22, 2011
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand's second largest city
Time: 12:51 pm
Event: 6.3 magnitude earthquake
Result: 185 dead, thousands injured, $40 billion damage, 80% downtown destroyed

Three years later Christchurch is still rebuilding and recharging. Emerging from the collapsed buildings, destroyed roads, ruined homes and considerable personal loss, the city is making some discoveries.

I spent the past week introducing SafeGrowth in this beautiful country with its magnificent countryside and easygoing people. Four teams from the Phillipstown neighborhood of Christchurch are the first to try it. Yesterday Christchurch TV covered the training in a newsclip.

Turns out they have a few cards up their sleeve.

Three aces

First, police use Neighborhood Policing Teams throughout the city with experience in CPTED. Clearly there are some progressive police leaders who see their value.

Second they are experimenting with innovations. One is hundreds of temporary shipping containers to house everything from banks and stores to offices and coffee shops. The containers are painted bright colors and positioned in interesting configurations. They are rarely vandalized.

Coffee shop showing storage containers with multiple temporary uses - photo Mateja Mihinjac
Their ace in hand is an outstanding CPTED planning team. Led by experienced CPTED practitioner Sue Ramsey, they are advised by renowned CPTED architect Frank Stoks. It was from Stoks' doctoral dissertation on rape in Seattle 30 years ago where the Toronto METRAC organization drew many of their survey questions for the famous Women's Safety Audit.

Sue described the work in Christchurch at the 2013 International CPTED Association conference. Christchurch is well positioned to start a whole new SafeGrowth transformation up from the rubble of disaster.

Shopping in the container village - color and innovation downtown - photo Sue Ramsey

Out of the Christchurch rubble emerges an new urban form - photo Mateja Mihinjac

7 Replies so far - Add your comment

Anonymous said...

They have also been the recipients of years (both prior and after the earthquake) of leadership and training from our own ICA Intl President Tony Lake to ensure the application of CPTED principals is put to best use. This ongoing support and keeping Sue's team in motion has been a huge contributor to their success.

GSaville said...

Thanks for the reminder about Tony's great work. There is doubt with the help of talented folks like Tony Lake and Frank Stoks that Sue and her team have been making great strides. And now this SafeGrowth training is a step to the next level in that journey. Exciting times in Christchurch.

GSaville said...

Sorry...that should read "there is NO doubt". (Jetlag is a terrible thing :-)

Amir said...

Dear Greg, I'm really sorry to see your post so late. I'm based in Auckland, I'd like to know if you're still in NZ and if I have the opportunity to meet you in person.

GSaville said...

I'm back in March and happy to meet up with you then in Christchurch.

Unknown said...

Attending crime prevention seminar at Roanoke Police Dept Virginia which aired “Rebuilding Christchurch” video. Am unable to locate video on line. Would anyone be able to send me the link, please. Thank you. Bill Pitard, Security Specialist, STV Inc., Virginia Beach, VA USA.

Mateja Mihinjac said...

Hi Bill,

Please try the video section on our website: You can find the the "Excerpt from Christchurch training" clip there as well as a "Riccarton West Intersection Repair Project" from Christchurch among other videos. I hope this helps.