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Gentrification Interrupted – Impacts of the Christchurch Earthquakes on Inner City Revitalisation John McDonagh, Jacky Bowring, Lincoln University, Harvey.

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Presentation on theme: "Gentrification Interrupted – Impacts of the Christchurch Earthquakes on Inner City Revitalisation John McDonagh, Jacky Bowring, Lincoln University, Harvey."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gentrification Interrupted – Impacts of the Christchurch Earthquakes on Inner City Revitalisation John McDonagh, Jacky Bowring, Lincoln University, Harvey Perkins, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

2 Background Christchurch CBD retail struggling since 1970’s But by 2010 revitalisation emerging in previously neglected south eastern “Lichfield Lanes” area Victorian and Edwardian brick buildings in narrow lanes A concentration of hospitality, dining and some small eclectic retail and residential uses

3 Lichfield Lanes Area - Prior to Earthquakes

4 Lichfield Lanes Area Prior to Earthquakes

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6 Earthquakes 4 September magnitude - 38k distant 26 December magnitude “direct hit” on CBD 22 February magnitude 6.7 km from CBD – with massive vertical acceleration Catastrophic collapse of CBD buildings, tens of thousands of houses wrecked, 185 fatalities CBD remains cordoned off 3 years later

7 Study Area Immediately after the February earthquakes

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9 Lichfield Lanes Study Area Now

10 Lichfield Lanes Study Location Now

11 Research Questions What attracted businesses to this area? Do they see a future here post earthquake? What barriers are there to such a future? What will they do if they see no future here? What characteristics do alternative locations exhibit? What do they think of the “recovery” process?

12 Preliminary Findings Attractive features: Physical characteristics – bricks, style, history Narrowness of lanes, human scale Shelter from weather and traffic Exclusivity of “finding” a hidden area Edgy-ness of area and businesses Unplanned, mixed and quirky uses

13 Committed and passionate owner operators Community feel Exciting and still evolving International flavour Opposite to a mall Residential use a “mixed blessing” Cheap rent an initial attraction but waning Attractive features continued:

14 Pre Earthquake Business Situation Most hospitality businesses doing well Some retailers struggled Daytime and Evening markets Weather and “Events” influential

15 Earthquake Impacts: September and Boxing day –little impact February very different Alan “Scary event, surprise survived all that was happening. Did not realise how bad it was, our building stood up, when walked out it became apparent things were grim. Sirens, streets covered in bricks particularly Poplar Lane – principally parapets, looked worse than actually was, pleased with buildings, intact no cracks and could have opened next day if cordons had not gone up and obvious other surrounding damage, very apparent going outside just how bad things were, made survival all the more relevant”.

16 Earthquake Impacts Continued: Immediate shutdown and long term exclusion from area Led to frustration, financial and insurance claim problems Some held onto hope for recovery – but eventually gave up Bob ““After earthquake did not know what to do, thought things would go back to normal. Did not realise would not be able to re open”.

17 Post earthquake: Eventual realisation of need to “move on” Bob “Getting back in very frustrating, need to fill in seven page application form from CERA, structural engineer, safety plan, plus supervision (by engineer), landlord permission. Went back in in June, evidence of theft. Initially laid of casual staff but months later told by the insurance company to lay off remainder as not going back”.

18 What now? Retail tenants quickly moved to suburbs Most hospitality uses followed but with more difficulties All miss the style and buzz of the CBD and most would have remained there if it had been an option

19 Feelings re Recovery Process: No effective help post earthquake Officials struggling and paranoid about safety Alan “I understand what (the authorities) tried to do – need some law and order – but needed to enable people to take some responsibility on their own backs and do something and the city would have been able to get up and rebuild much, much quicker had people been able to do their own thing”.

20 Feelings re Recovery Process continued: Concern over length of time taken Affordability problems Cath “Central city proposals, city plan etc. going slowly. Does need to go quicker,…Sooner things start happening, the better, because people settle into suburbs and get used to living without CBD – complacency” …would love to see them develop that sort of area again in the city and have some character, it would definitely attract me again but what scares me is the leasing cost which will be a major concern for small businesses.”

21 Conclusions Attraction to area a combination of shared factors, including style, history, scale and cost Community feel evolved and unplanned and owner occupied situation perceived as important in success Initial earthquakes only had minor impacts February earthquake a shock and lack of access after frustrated recovery Delay in recovery meant businesses had to reluctantly leave CBD to carry on. No help from authorities. Sadness something special has been lost and doubt that CBD can recover anytime soon.


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