Reconstruction in Christchurch and Concepción

Home >> news >> Reconstruction in Christchurch and Concepción

Stephen Platt
[email protected]
tel: 01223 460475


Christchurch town centre, February 2012

Disasters leave huge scars in people’s lives, the economy and infrastructure. Yet despite the damage there are opportunities to ‘build back better’. The process of recovery involves planning at various levels including international, national, regional and local. We need to understand a disaster and track what is happening with the recovery to help plan reconstruction and to learn lessons to mitigate future disasters.

With financial support from the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) CAR director Stephen Platt went to Chile and New Zealand to better understand how post-disaster planning and reconstruction is managed. The main aim was to inform our method of using satellite imagery and spatial databases to aid the design, planning and monitoring of post-disaster recovery.

In Chile he was based in Concepción, visiting the affected area and meeting academics, urban master planners, municipal planners and local residents. He also spent time in Santiago and the surrounding area and met people in the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Housing and Urbanism.

In New Zealand he was based in Christchurch, interviewing over 20 people involved in planning recovery and surveying the affected areas.

Key lessons
Rules and regulations
Engineering analysis and scientific research needs to be used to modify building codes, risk maps and land use zoning.

Organisational structures
Coordination of the many ordinary and extraordinary organisations involved in both relief and recovery needs to be defined and rehearsed well before any disaster.

Behavioural norms/social and cultural factors
There needs to be comprehensive public consultation on the options for change and stakeholder involvement in strategic decisions.

Further research is needed to define key indicators of recovery, for example the construction of permanent homes and the restitution of livelihoods and local economies.

The trips have provided many insights about how spatial systems can store, analyse and visualise the information planners need to manage reconstruction, how this information can be used to involve local residents and businesses in decision-making and how the process of recovery can be monitored and evaluated.

This is part of a programme of research being conducted by ReBuilDD, a consortium of architects, engineers and remote sensing scientists based at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Architectural Research Ltd and ImageCat Inc.

Download ReBuilDD reports

You are using the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser version 6, which is many years out of date. We regret this website cannot be viewed in version 6. Please update to a new version by visiting Microsoft's Website