THE CONSUMPTION OF CHAOS: FROM THE CHARM OF CHAOS TO THE TEDIUM OF ORDER – THE CASE OF CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND BEFORE AND AFTER THE CENTRAL CITY POST-EARTHQUAKE REBUILD
Free (open access)
855 - 866
JOHN MCDONAGH, JACKY BOWRING, HARVEY PERKINS
Prior to the devastating 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, parts of the CBD of Christchurch, New Zealand were undergoing revitalisation incorporating aspects of adaptive reuse and gentrification. Such areas were often characterised by a variety of bars, restaurants, and retail outlets of an “alternative” or “bohemian” style. These early 20th century buildings also exhibited relatively low rents and a somewhat chaotic and loosely planned property development approach by small scale developers. Almost all of these buildings were demolished following the earthquakes and a cordon placed around the CBD for several years. A paper presented at the ERES conference in 2013 presented preliminary results, from observation of post-earthquake public meetings and interviews with displaced CBD retailers. This paper highlighted a strongly held fear that the rebuild of the central city, then about to begin, would result in a very different style and cost structure from that which previously existed. As a result, permanent exclusion from the CBD of the types of businesses that previously characterised the successfully revitalised areas would occur. Five years further on, new CBD retail and office buildings have been constructed, but large areas of land between them remain vacant and the new buildings completed are often having difficulty attracting tenants. This paper reports on the further development of this long-term Christchurch case study and examines if the earlier predictions of the displaced retailers are coming true, in that a new CBD that largely mimics a suburban mall in style and tenancy mix, inherently loses some of its competitive advantage?
revitalisation, retail, CBD, style, chaos, variety, differentiation, earthquake, Christchurch, rebuild