This paper explores the concept of place and identity with regard to the rebuilding of Christchurch (Ōtautahi), New Zealand’s second largest city following the devastating earthquakes of September 2010 and February 2011. The process of rebuilding following a natural disaster is determined by the utility, character, ambiance, habitude, and experience of identity expressed in the process of reconstruction and the environment it supports. For Christchurch, the largest city in New Zealand’s South Island (Te Wai Pounamu) in which approximately half of the city centre was destroyed and must be re-built, rebuilding consists of reconstructing previous architecture, overlaid with a modern architecture. As Gauzin-Muller has stated, “[c]onsideration of environmental issues in construction projects has economic, ecological, and social implications” (2002, 9). While there is a huge physical, financial, and cultural problem to solve in clearing land, designing buildings for repopulated areas, and remediating land for rebuilding, there is also a tremendous opportunity in for engineers, architects, landscape architects, and planners to redesign and construct new sustainable buildings, precinct, and recreational areas for central Christchurch.
Strongman, L. (2014). Ōtautahi revisted: Urban regeneration and a sense of identity in the rebuilding of Christchurch. The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, 5(1), 13-21.