Yesterday I went on the walk into Cathedral Square in the centre of Christchurch. Christchurch has been hit by a series of earthquakes in the last year or so; the worst being in February when many died. I was in Christchurch for all the major earthquakes, which, more than anything, was a completely bizarre experience.
Cathedral Square used to look like this…
Now, it looks like this…
I knew going into the city would be a depressing experience. And it was. It was like a strangely somber tourist attraction. Personally I would rather avoid looking at the major destruction in Christchurch, but I was with others who felt like they needed to see it; if only to make the earthquake experience more real. It seems wrong to look at the rubble somehow; like we should let the city rearrange itself while we have our backs turned and when we look again everything will be better.
One good idea that has arisen post-quake is the Restart Outdoor Mall.
High Street shops have been placed in shipping containers in an outdoor area with newly planted sunflowers, which is nice and optimistic. I believe these shops and cafes are temporary, but I think they should leave them as a feature that relates to the earthquake situation and the idea of managing with what we have. It’s refreshing.
The only problem is, once something great has been installed in Christchurch, EVERYONE goes to it. So when I went to check it out, it was absolutely packed. In contrast to the depressingly munted Cathedral, the container mall was completely over stimulating.
However, it’s definitely a positive move towards modern developments in Christchurch; I hope ideas continue to grow in this way and make the city better than it ever was.