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International speakers share experience of redeveloping disaster-stricken cities

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

International speakers from around the globe are being brought to Christchurch next weekend (27 and 28 August) to share their experiences relating to the redevelopment of cities and communities devastated by natural and human disasters.

Leading the line-up is Sir Richard Leese who oversaw the 10-year regeneration of Manchester following the IRA bombing in 1996 and Charles Eadie who led the Santa Cruz Gang of 36 who planned and implemented the recovery of the central business district following the 1989 San Francisco earthquake.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says this is a wonderful opportunity for the community to hear and be inspired by those who have led projects which revitalised communities destroyed by bombs, earthquakes, hurricanes and bush fires.

"Christchurch has seen enough devastation in the last year to last a lifetime. For many in our community, the continuing severity of the aftershocks offers little hope. What these speakers will show that with good planning, a degree of tenacity and a strong sense of community, we can overcome this adversity and be a strong, safe city again.

"The International Speaker Series is a great opportunity for our community to be inspired and also to hear what these experts have to say about the draft Central City Plan which has been released for consultation this week."

Sir Richard Leese and Charles Eadie will be joined at the event by:

Kerry O'Neill who worked with the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority to rebuild communities devastated by the 2009 Victorian bushfires. She was responsible for the social planning for urban renewal projects.

London-based international landscape architect Sam Martin whose work focuses on creating spaces which have the human factor: looking at people and the way they interact with their environment. He was born in Canterbury.

Douglas Ahlers who is the director of the Broadmoor Project for New Orleans Recovery at Harvard University, advising cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles on their disaster recovery and resiliency planning.

David Lindsay, who as Ontario's Deputy Minister of Energy and Infrastructure strategically allocated significant funding to build various infrastructure projects and arts, sports and cultural facilities in a short time.

Each speaker will talk about their experiences in rebuilding or designing communities and discuss their thoughts on the draft Plan to redevelop Christchurch's Central City.

The International Speaker Series is being held at the University of Canterbury's Central Lecture Theatre next weekend 27 and 28 August from 9.30am to 5pm. There is limited seating, seats will be allocated on a first come basis. For further details visit the website

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