Christchurch: A City in Evolution

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Street art and life out of the rubble – Christchurch, January 2016
Colour bursts through the city. It is hidden around corners, brightening walls and walkways. Between the grey of rubble and steel, new life is evident throughout.

There is no hiding the dramatic consequences of a multitude of earthquakes hitting Christchurch. Nearly five years on, the city still has the open wounds. Where buildings once stood, gaping holes are now blocks of rubble to navigate. The roads can be challenging to navigate with roadworks and traffic cones aplenty. On first glance, the city is scarred.

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Letting go of the past – the Christchurch Cathedral, January 2016
But by lifting one’s gaze just a smidge, it becomes clear that to write off this city is too simplistic. It is a city in a state of beautiful evolution. A giant art gallery of street art, peppered with exciting, new food options. The Avon River still gracefully snakes through the city centre, and new steel structures continue to grow out of the footprint of what has gone before. Wandering the central city, there is a life to Christchurch that is extraordinary. Observing a city evolving like this is a special moment; it will never again look quite like it does today. Tomorrow, there will be a little more built, it will grow and settle into itself once again. Eventually, this evolution will reach its natural end. It will become the new normal and people will tell stories of this time of change.

The earthquakes of 2011 destroyed a city, but the people of Christchurch have led that in a new direction. One of New Zealand’s largest cities, it is becoming a vibrant and exciting city – one I am proud to call my hometown.

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