Recovery Christchurch and post quake urbanism

A call for submissions for:

Recovery: Lessons in Post-Disaster Planning (working title).

Project Team: Barnaby Bennett, Dr. Ryan Reynolds, James Dann, and Emma Johnson.

For any questions please contact:

Emma Johnson: 027 622 1727 or

In 2014 Freerange will publish a new book that reviews, critiques and re-imagines the government’s Christchurch Central City Recovery Plan – or Blueprint – that was launched in mid-2012, which continues to determine the post-earthquake planning of the centre of Christchurch. We aim to use this recovery plan as a lens through which to explore multiple facets of this, and by extension, discuss disaster recovery scenarios and city building.

Christchurch presents the unprecedented situation of having to rebuild an entire central city and surrounding infrastructure in a First World economy in the twenty-first century. What happens here, the good and the bad, should and will serve as a global lesson. As first world cities face increasing threat of crisis – financial, climatic and more – a strong critical look at the Christchurch response while it’s not too late to make meaningful changes is imperative. We wish for Recovery to be both the reference book and archive of this time.

We are looking for a combination of national and international voices to discuss aspects of the recovery plan and to offer alternative projects and approaches. From public consultation and heritage buildings through to transport, planning frameworks and economics, Recovery will offer the first substantial critique of the recovery plan, identify what has worked well with it, what is falling through and growing in the cracks, and offer up a range of alternative international best practice models and local case studies.

Call for submissions

While the editing team will provide an introduction and necessary information to explain the context of the Blueprint to our readership, we are calling for submissions for the proposed sections:

  • Core essays (3-4 in each section) – we are seeking contributions from relevant experts on different aspects of the topics listed below.
  • Related case studies: Importantly each section will also feature local and international projects and case studies that offer opportunities to think about these topics in different ways. We welcome a range of voices and suggestions for possible content.

Submissions close 30 December. Please provide an abstract and some information about yourself (in terms of relevant experience and writing history). We will respond to you by 6 January and ask that the final manuscript be delivered to us by the 15 March. Please note that we are looking for a range of lengths in terms of these contributions (1000-4000 words).

The topics listed below are indicative topics, and not exhaustive:

Master plans and alternatives

TOPICS: History of planning; Temporary and transitional; New new urbanism; Unsolicited architecture.

Potential case studies: Other cities for international context (Haiti), or NZ wide; Gap Filler; The Commons (former Crowne Plaza Hotel site); Wikihouse; Arcades Project; Oregon project ‘placemaking’ or Team Better Block.

Selling the plan:

TOPICS: Understanding the need for a rebuild narrative; Performance analysis of the plan & launch; Marketing and identity; Interface with the public; Media analysis; attempts at inspiring investor confidence; Semantics/semiotics

Potential case studies: ZNO blueprint flyover video; media embargo/six o’clock news; Calling the Blueprint a blueprint has implications – authority and permanent; the Green Frame; Hurricane Katrina plan; Lac-Mégantic (small town in Quebec destroyed in train crash/explosion)

The Public Good

Participation; Public consultation; Heritage; Public space & design.

Potential case studies: Share An Idea; Pallet Pavilion/The Commons; Arts Centre/Town Hall; Letting Space; Fletchers EQR as public good; &/or land acquisition & other Blueprint measures as public good.

Transport & Housing….Interconnections/links/relationships…How we live..

Traffic engineering; Transport and Urban planning; Relationship to suburbs/within the province; CBD residency/density.

Potential case studies: Avon-Otakaro; RAD Bikes or bike hire; IBM Smarter Cities; Light rail.

Economic analysis

The logic of anchor projects; Incentivising investment; Land acquisition; Winners/losers and inequality; Failure to attract foreign investment.

Potential case studies: Smash Palace; Artbox; Re:START; land being taking out of market supply when trying to contain CBD; Change of land use; Residential demonstration project

Legal & governance

Designations; Regulatory framework; Forced land acquisitions; Post CER legislation.

Potential case studies: Quake Outcasts; Cathedral; EPIC; Access to red zone.


Urban ecology; Building performance; Designing for an uncertain future.

Potential case studies: Agropolis; Whole House Reuse/Rekindle; Burwood landfill; dumping / reclamation in Lyttelton Harbour

Potential other content

Photos, cartoons, timelines, charts/graphs.


About Freerange Press

Freerange Press is New Zealand’s first cooperative publisher. Freerange focuses on the city, design, art and life for an urbanized humanity. Most recently it published Christchurch: The Transitional City Pt IV, which documents over 180 transitional projects that have occurred in post-quake Christchurch.  Graham Beattie (former head of Penguin NZ) called this book ‘a significant, inspired piece of publishing’. It is in its third print run.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.