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Passing through Christchurch, New Zealand, last week, I couldn’t help but feel like a bit of a rubbernecker, a guilty gawker feeding a morbid curiosity as I gazed out over the veritable disaster zone. Sure, the destructive duo of earthquakes that hit here in September 2010 and again in February 2011 (it was the latter one that delivered the ultimate blow – and claimed 185 lives) sent out enough shock waves to make international headlines, but nothing short of being here could really prepare a visitor for the magnitude of the devastation.
Christchurch’s core is in the process of being slowly, and almost entirely, dismantled. Already partly leveled, the city’s cordoned-off center (dubbed the “red zone”) is filled with irreparably damaged buildings readying for systematic demolition. Some two-thirds of the city’s heritage buildings will ultimately be lost, and the city is in the throes of (literally) picking up the pieces.
But look only at the dismal surface, and you’ll miss the subtly rising phoenix – a city revving to rebuild from the rubble, a movement led by impassioned locals oozing such resilient spirit that you can’t help but join in on the cheering squad for this little city. After all, how could you not get behind a place that’s created its own “Ministry of Awesome,” developed by residents eager to ignite creative new projects throughout the city? Read more
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