Accessibility and resilience in post-earthquake Christchurch : will increased universal accessibility lead to a more resilient Christchurch?

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Master of Urban Resilience and Renewal
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Moore, Chris

This research examines the connection between accessibility and resilience in post-earthquake Christchurch. This research will provide my community partner with a useful evidence base to help show that increased accessibility does create a more resilient environment. This research uses an in-depth literature review along with qualitative interview approach discussing current levels of accessibility and resilience in Christchurch and whether or not the interview participants believe that increased accessibility in Christchurch will make our city more resilient to future disasters. This research is important because it helps to bridge the connection between accessibility and resilience by showing how accessibility is an important aspect of making a city resilient. In Christchurch specifically, it is a great time to create an accessible and inclusive environment in the post-earthquake rebuild state the city is currently in. Showing that an accessible environment will lead to a more resilient city is important will potentially lead to accessible design being included in the rebuild of places and spaces in Christchurch. In theory, the results of this research show that having an accessible environment leads to universal inclusiveness which in turn, leads to a resilient city. An overarching theme that arose during this research is that accessibility is a means to inclusion and without inclusion a society cannot be resilient. In practice, the results show that for Christchurch to become more accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities, there needs to not only be an increase the accessibility of places and spaces but accessibility to the community as well. Having accessible infrastructure and communities will lead to increased social and urban resilience, especially for individuals with disabilities. This research is beneficial because it helps to bridge the connection between accessibility and resilience. Resilience is important because it help cities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters and this research helps to show that accessibility is an important part of creating resilience. Some questions still remain unresolved mainly looking into normalising accessibility and deciphering how to prove that accessibility is an issue that effects everybody, not just individuals with disabilities.

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