The Shaken Suburbs: The changing sense of home and creating a new home after a disaster
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science (Hons)
The 2010 and 2011 earthquakes in the region of Canterbury, New Zealand caused widespread damage and the deaths of 185 people. Suburbs on the eastern side of Christchurch and in the satellite town of Kaiapoi, 20 kilometres north of Christchurch, were badly damaged by liquefaction. The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), a government organisation set up in the wake of the earthquakes, began to systematically zone all residential land in 2011. Based on the possibility for land remediation, 7860 houses in Christchurch and Kaiapoi were zoned red. Those who were in this zone were compensated and had to buy or build elsewhere. The other zone examined within this research – that of TC3 – lies within the green zone. Residents, in this zone, were able to stay in their houses but land was moderately damaged and required site-specific geotechnical investigations.
This research sought to understand how residents’ senses of home were impacted by a disaster and the response efforts. Focusing on the TC3 and red zone of the eastern suburbs and the satellite town of Kaiapoi, this study interviewed 29 residents within these zones. The concept of home was explored with the respondents at three scales: home as a household; home as a community; and home as a city.
There was a large amount of resistance to the zoning process and the handling of claims by insurance companies and the Earthquake Commission (EQC) after the earthquakes. Lack of transparency and communication, as well as extremely slow timelines were all documented as failings of these agencies.
This research seeks to understand how participant’s sense of home changed on an individual level and how it was impacted by outside agencies. Homemaking techniques were also focused on showing that a changed sense of home will impact on how a person interacts with a space.