Learning from the earthquakes: Community resilience, formation and housing in Christchurch

How did individuals and their communities respond following the 2010/11 Christchurch earthquakes? What has been learnt about how communities develop resilience, how they form, and the importance of house type and tenure in the wake of these events? We held a seminar on these questions with speakers Simon Kingham and Graciela Rivera-Muñoz. View the event video:

Learning from the earthquakes: Community resilience, formation and housing in Christchurch

Resilience is one of the buzz words of our changing and uncertain times and the 2010/2011 Christchurch earthquakes provided a natural experiment in what happens to communities when disaster strikes. The speakers examined how individuals, and the communities they were part of, responded during the recovery process in Christchurch. Simon Kingham gave an account of neighbourhood connections, community resilience and Christchurch. Graciela Rivera-Muñoz discussed housing policy response to the earthquakes. This research was based on surveys and interviews with stakeholders, residents and key informants, along with reviews of key policy practices and documents. The speakers presented what they have learnt from the post-disaster context about neighbourhood, streetscape and housing, as well as the importance of local leadership. They concluded by providing recommendations for how to strengthen community and be better prepared for future shocks and challenges.

Presentation: Simon Kingham, Creating resilient, healthy, sustainable urban communities (pdf)

Presentation: Graciela Rivera-Muñoz, Community Resilience & Disaster Housing Recovery (pdf)


Simon Kingham is Director of the Geospatial Research Institute and Director of the GeoHealth Laboratory at the University of Canterbury. His research focuses on the relationships between the urban environment and health and has a particular focus on transport and how to make it more sustainable, people’s perceptions and attitudes to transport and specifically attitudes to school and work travel. His research interests also include health geography looking at the social and environmental determinants of health and environmental exposure: how we measure and quantify health affecting aspects of the environment. He is a researcher in the Resilient Urban Futures programme.

Graciela Rivera-Muñoz is a PhD student at the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities. She has a background in political sciences and public health education. Graciela’s work focuses on the role of communities in public health practice and public policy processes. For her PhD she looked at housing recovery after the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010-2011 and she has developed a critical theoretical perspective on the concept of community, neighbourhood and suburb resilience.

For more information, please contact: libby.grant@otago.ac.nz

This event was held on 30 November 2016 at the Adam Auditorium, City Gallery, Civic Square, Wellington.