The starkness of Christchurch’s residential red zone

I was recently  in Christchurch as part of a National Science Foundation project, as well as to speak at the People in Disasters Conference and attend the 5th anniversary memorial service of the February 22nd, 2011 earthquake. I rented a car for the weekend to drive and walk around the residential red zone at my own pace rather than be driven by a local official or colleagues, which is how I’ve experience the area in the past.

I took the pictures below in the Bexley neighborhood between Bexley Park and Bexley Wetlands.

The_CERA_Map 2The_CERA_Map

As you can see, the demolition in the neighborhood is complete (except for the one home shown). Although there are many residents who have to drive through this vacant neighborhood to access their own houses. That has to be a weird feeling seeing what happened to your neighbors and not you each and every day. It certainly is a stark experience to walk along the empty streets and vacant lots thinking about the folks who had to unwillingly pick up and move their lives–some who still have not been able to settle their insurance claims five years after the quake.

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