In February 2011, Christchurch, NZ’s second largest city, suffered a devastating earthquake that left 185 people dead and destroyed more than 600 commercial buildings and 8,000 homes.
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has released a plan which will form the basis of Christchurch central city’s transport infrastructure for the next 30 years. The plan provides for a 30km speed limit in the inner part of the city centre, the retention of the bulk of its one-way system, more cycle lanes, improved landscaping, and the location of several large-scale bus stations on key routes through the city centre.
The US | NZ Council has a special connection to this tragedy and the people of Christchurch. At the time of the earthquake, the Council was co-hosting the 2011 Partnership Forum in the city. More than 110 Americans and New Zealanders were participating in the event, including Members of the U.S. Congress and NZ Parliament.
In response to the disaster, members of the US | NZ Council established a charitable campaign called American Friends of Christchurch or AFOC. Since February 2011, AFOC has collected US$5 million in donations. Today, the charitable effort continues as the Council focuses public attention on rebuilding Christchurch to be a model for cities of the future.
Every city in the world can learn important lessons from the effort to transform Christchurch into a model urban area. Lean more about Christchurch and AFOC at the following links: