Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: What Now?

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  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Hilary: +1. Hurrah for EQC. And ACC.
    It probably is too soon for this conversation, but in the meantime here is some interesting reading from Nature on the correlation between corruption and earthquake death tolls on an international scale.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 822 posts Report Reply

  • JLM,

    Having said all that, am I the only one who is uncomfortable with talk of re-building? It feels like it is too soon to have that conversation.

    I don't think it's too soon to start the big picture conversation, and let those who want to join in, and let imaginings start fermenting. It's such a huge question, I want to start thinking about it before the developers.

    Totally agree about the awfulness of Christchurch malls

    Judy Martin's southern sl… • Since Apr 2007 • 240 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to BenWilson,

    He said: “Let’s make lots more money – the tax will be way more than any charity you were thinking of paying”.

    Are you sure he didn’t say “I’ve got the brains, you’ve got the looks” first?
    (You know, I always thought that was the other way round)

    But yes, happy with a levy, or to try and generate more tax.

    Also thought of the Broken Tooth in Berlin and the Castle of Dresden, both visited in the past. In Dresden’s case, if there wasn’t something exceedingly beautiful on offer in the City centre of a heritage nature, the line up of Eastern block housing would become overwhelming. But, niether Dresden nor Berlin are prone to Earthquakes, to my knowledge, so the discussion on the safety of restoring old buildings, without bringing up to, or beyond, current standards, is not a simple one.

    The Civic spent quite a bit on meeting the Earthquake standards, from memory. The council has information on Earthquake Prone Buildings, which I just stumbled on when looking for the information about the Civic.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this.

    Snap.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    While sprawling suburban design lacks efficiency, it certainly is very resistant to disaster. Classic decentralized network. Not advocating, just saying. If the only interchange for a train system is right in the CBD, and that is taken out, there's no network left. Buses can at least reroute immediately. Similar comment regarding motorway interchanges. Ring roads provide fail-over.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    I think it should be left in ruins. It’s a far more powerful image now than it ever was before. Before the Cathedral looked almost toy like often; now it looks utterly sublime.

    I know it’s not a precise analogy (and potentially a rather tasteless one), but there was a long and rather heated debate about rebuilding Nagasaki’s Urakami Cathedral between the city government (who wanted to leave the ruins (which were 500m from ground zero) as a memorial, and the Catholic community for whom the church’s value went way beyond aesthetic or heritage values -- if you want to get right down to it, in art historical terms it was (and still is) a not particular distinguished example of ecclesiastical Romanesque Revival.

    The reason Nagasaki's Catholics fought so hard to be allowed to rebuild on the original site was that it was the heart of their community of faith that had endured – and survived – not only the atomic bombing, but often brutal persecution.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Plan now for a post-oil city, a chance to do it right.

    With Brownlee in charge a 'post-oil' city is going to involve an awful lot of coal-powered cable cars.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    My special rebuilding interest is, The Timeball Station.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4337 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Russell:

    I think the art gallery offers an example in more than one way. There was conservative outrage when that was built, but I don't think anyone sees it as anything other than an asset now.

    A steel cube box in Chch would be an asset at the moment. The arts centre stands because of the engineering. The design may not have met with approval. So care needs to be taken here. Napier picked up the previous decades architecture style. Anyone got any ideas on what might constitute the previous couple of decades 'style"? Of course in this day and age - no longer quite so tied to Europe - we might like to consider our own.........I wonder what that might loo like.......I look forward in anticipation.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1589 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    It was the heart of a community of faith that had endured – and survived – not only the atomic bombing, but often brutal persecution.

    Having said that, my Aunt, who has lost her house, points out that a church isn't a building, it's a community, and the people involved in it.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I would prefer Brasilia to Hausmann's Paris; at the very least, Niemeyer was not designing a city for the easy movement of troops against the population.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    I've been thinking a lot about this.

    Yes, it came to my mind too. But I'm not entirely sure that it was a German choice to leave it that way, or something the Allies cooked up "lest they forget". Germans would probably prefer to fix the spire and forget the war.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    Having said that, my Aunt, who has lost her house, points out that a church isn’t a building, it’s a community, and the people involved in it.

    Quite right, and that was my point - which I didn't make that well, obviously. As that great philosopher Hal David put it, a house is not a home when there's no one there to hold you tight and no one there you can kiss goodnight. But any urban plan that forgets the human factor is one I don't want to touch with anything less lethal than a seal club.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    church isn’t a building, it’s a community, and the people involved in it.

    "Where three or more are gathered in My name",etc. One need only look at how church communities respond to arson attacks on the building to know that it is the shared faith and connection that truly makes the Church. Look at the concept of a global Church as espoused by most denominations of Christianity, which by definition transcends any physical building.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Raffe Smith,

    Surely the question to be asked about the cathedral is whether it should remain a functioning church or not? If so, talk of a memorial in the manner of the Berlin example seems misplaced, as I understand it the original church has been left as a ruin.
    This is not to suggest that I think the Christchurch Cathedral should be rebuilt to match the original. Any memorial function could be an addition, or embodied in the rebuild.

    Incidentally, the forthcoming revision of NZS3604:2011 (timber framed building standard) places Christchurch in zone 2 for earthquake bracing requirements. Wellington is zone 3, while zone 4 straddles the southern alps and the plate boundary. Any structural engineers about who could illuminate this?

    Mount Albert. • Since Nov 2006 • 40 posts Report Reply

  • 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.

    And... okay, bear with me, this is difficult. My partner's work and my kids' school are in the CBD. And it doesn't matter shit. There is a step before "what kind of central city should we build?". Homes. Infrastructure. And I know that should go without saying, but when this earthquake hit, there were still people living in broken houses using chemical toilets from the LAST earthquake. This time, when it's New Brighton, and Aranui, and Woolston, and Linwood? I have a dark hurty feeling.

    I'm not saying in any way we shouldn't have this conversation, I just... had a moment during John Key's "you'll never walk alone" speech where 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.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Emma Hart,

    This time, when it’s New Brighton, and Aranui, and Woolston, and Linwood? I have a dark hurty feeling.

    Are you able to expand on this for those of us not familiar with Christchurch suburbs and their socio-economic status? I'm assuming, from the way you put it, that these are on the lower end.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Raffe Smith,

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

    No - since I'm a Catholic at the other end of the country not an Anglican that question is so far beyond my pay grade I get a nose bleed just thinking about it.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    I wonder what the wider economic effect of a distracted and/or lesser Christchurch will be on the rest of the South Island. In many ways it seem to have a similar relationship with the Island that Auckland does with the entire country

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1019 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Emma Hart,

    This time, when it’s New Brighton, and Aranui, and Woolston, and Linwood? I have a dark hurty feeling.

    Oh yes. When I looked at the list of badly damaged schools yesterday, I thought "Shit, that's a lot of kids, and look at the areas they're in.

    There is a step before “what kind of central city should we build?”. Homes. Infrastructure

    And I think there's a step before that, which is allowing people to grieve. For the people that have been lost, and for the buildings, the city and the confidence.

    I’m assuming, from the way you put it, that these are on the lower end.

    Very much so.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Raffe Smith, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    @ Craig - I posed that question without judgement, fully in the knowledge that it will be the people of ChCh to answer it. It is above my pay grade too.

    Mount Albert. • Since Nov 2006 • 40 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Relevant but divergent question, anyone considered what impact the de-democratisation of ECan will have in the post-quake environment? Ignoring talk of Darth Brownlee, there's actually no elected body in place for the region at this stage and the regional "council" was appointed with a fairly specific remit around streamlined resource consenting.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Are you able to expand on this for those of us not familiar with Christchurch suburbs and their socio-economic status? I'm assuming, from the way you put it, that these are on the lower end.

    Doesn't get any lower, really. Poor people, poor housing, distinct lack of resourcing. A lot of people who were about to get kicked in the crotch by Welfare Reform anyway.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    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.

    But it's not a building any more, and it can't be a building again, a cathedral again. It's a death trap. It's a place that kills. It's hostile object theory, a perversion of the sanctuary of the church. I think that Coventry is a good principle: some things can't be put back together*. Humpty Dumpty's fallen off, and all the King's men etc. etc.

    God. This is a horrible thing. The beauty of death hangs over Christchurch like the smog from the chimneys used to, settling on things and giving them a patina of grace. Latimer Square has its own deaths now; it doesn't need to borrow Latimer's any more.

    (& if you want more maudlin, it's provided on request.)

    * and that doesn't mean there's no Coventry Cathedral any more. It's just not an imitation of the old Coventry Cathedral

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Napier picked up the previous decades architecture style. Anyone got any ideas on what might constitute the previous couple of decades 'style"? Of course in this day and age - no longer quite so tied to Europe - we might like to consider our own.........I wonder what that might loo like

    Something like the Telstra Pacific Events Centre in Manukau shows one distinctly local response. Not that it would be right for Christchurch necessarily.

    This is an opportunity to look firmly *forwards*, to build a city that our children will find of value throughout their lives (and won't mind still paying for). That means addressing sustainable land and energy use (and peak oil). Not holding my breath that the current lot will get that, however. More cheap concrete boxes and car-clogged streets, I fear.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19695 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Emma Hart,

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

    I caught up with one of my friends in Chch yesterday. He was lucky and has a lot of clarity about his role in the recovery in the short-term. I think that got him into a frame of mind where he could focus on what was and wasn't right about the recovery and about the balance of priorities. His view, which I think is similar to your's Emma, is that resources must flow into the poorer areas where people currently are without transport and can't get the basics.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

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