Christchurch Earthquake Recovery
After the 2011 quake, city business owners quickly banded together and agreed that it was important for the future of Christchurch to project a "business as usual" attitude. They decided to achieve this by urgently creating a temporary central sales precinct, a vibrant retail space that would be the first step in the long term re-construction of their city.
The problem was that after the quake, 80% of the downtown area had been demolished. There was simply nothing, not even a building, they could use to make a start.
So, in a decision that raised some eyebrows at the time, 61 shipping containers were imported and these were adapted and used to create a temporary container shopping mall. The results, as you'll see from our photos were amazing. It took just 8 weeks to construct, then they were ready to go and project Re:Start was launched.
Re:Start has been a huge success and grown steadily, increasing from 27 businesses at the opening in 2011, to well over 50 businesses today. In addition market stalls, street performers and buskers have brought their colorful influences to the project, making it a popular meeting place in the city.
It's now one of the main tourist attractions of Christchurch, where visitors can pause and admire the ingenuity, the creativity and the courage shown by the people of Christchurch in taking this first step to re-build their city. In this case, based on shipping containers!
Update: On a visit yesterday (31 December 2016) it was clear that as more retail space becomes available in the city, the Re:Start project is starting to wind down, with some business already re-located.
Designed as a reusable facility, the Re:Start shipping container mall will eventually be “unpacked”, transported and used elsewhere.
In the background to this photo, some of the new Christchurch skyline can be seen.