AbstractsEarth & Environmental Science

Investigating the role of temporary land uses in the Christchurch earthquake recovery

by William Parr

Institution: University of Otago
Year: 0
Keywords: Temporary; Land; use; disaster; recovery; Christchurch; earthquake; regeneration; urban; transitional; social; capital
Record ID: 1305518
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10523/4865


As Christchurch and the Canterbury region continues its recovery from the devastating earthquakes that struck in September 2010 and February 2011, we can now start to see the longer-term outcomes of the earthquake recovery for residents of Christchurch. There is anecdotal evidence that a prominent feature of post-earthquake Christchurch was the deployment of temporary and interim land uses and activities. Earthquake-affected people, businesses and communities ‘made do’ with temporary land uses and tried and return to pre-earthquake levels of productivity and functionality. This research examined the use of temporary land uses in the post-earthquake context of Christchurch. This involved the investigation and reconciliation of the disparate fields of temporary urbanism and planning for disaster recovery. The investigation of the role of temporary land uses in the Christchurch earthquake recovery was achieved by addressing the following questions; to what degree have temporary land uses been employed in the Christchurch earthquake recovery? What effect have temporary land uses had on the earthquake recovery? And what lessons can be learned from the Christchurch experience with regards to disaster recovery and temporary land uses? Key informant interviews and analysis of relevant planning documents and legislation were the primary methods of data collection. The results from these data collection methods were then qualitatively analysed with respect to the research questions. The preliminary findings of this research appear to confirm that temporary land uses have been a significant feature of the earthquake recovery in Christchurch. Temporary land uses have been widely employed by a range of actors for a variety of reasons. The temporary land uses seen in post-earthquake Christchurch, which are particularly community focused, were found to be greatly influential in fostering and enhancing social capital within affected communities. At this stage, the implementation of temporary land uses appears to have had a significant positive impact on local communities. The reported effects of temporary land uses in Christchurch also seem to satisfy some of the indicators of successful disaster recovery, outlined in the literature and Christchurch earthquake recovery policy documents. Initial results indicate that this research reinforces the findings of a number of authors who have argued that the level of social capital within disaster-affected communities strongly determines the speed of recovery from a disaster.