Christchurch 2012

Christchurch 2012



Over the next few weeks, and perhaps beyond, I’ll be posting a series of blogs and videos that will share with you my observations and experiences from my current trip to New Zealand, and more specifically the cities of Christchurch and Wellington, the first a city that has been devastated by earthquakes over the last two years, the second, a city awaiting its next “Big One.” I’m calling the series “Christchurch 2012: Back the Future,” because of this trip’s similarity to one I took with Mayor Ed Lee, then City Administrator, in 2007 to the City of New Orleans post-Katrina, at the request of then Mayor Gavin Newsom. Our initial mission was to join a cohort of organizations, including the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and help rebuild the Broadmoor Neighborhood. Upon arrival, the scope of the devastation was clearly impactful on the delegation on a very human level. Mayor Lee immediately embraced three key elements:

  • The devastation could have been easily mitigated with more responsible engineering
  • This was a social justice issue as much as an environmental disaster
  • San Francisco could face a similar fate if it did not act immediately to advance its resilience.

In his words “We went back to the future.” Upon return, Mayor Lee set forth a strategic vision for advancingSan Francisco’s resilience on every level, including at the neighborhood level. My goal is to connect with the residents, and the people supporting them, as they work to prepare for and recover from a major earthquake.

On the ground in Christchurch

sam johnson wendy davie jamie gough aaron keown nicky wagner
         Sam Johnson

Student Volunteer Army


      Wendy Davie

New Zealand Red Cross

Jamie Gough

 Christchurch City Council

Aaron Keown

Christchurch City Council

Nicky Wagner

National MP

The NEN Takes Its Message Abroad: New Zealand

On Friday, April 27th, I left for a trip to New Zealand after being invited to present at the New Zealand Planning Institute’s National Conference. In addition to attending the conference, I will also be visiting cities with communities that are either recovering from a large earthquake… read more

First Stop, Wellington: the San Francisco of the South Pacific

6 months ago I had the pleasure of attending a meeting with Dan Neely, Senior Advisor of Wellington’s Office of Emergency Management. Dan was presenting his work at the Dept. of Emergency Management in SF and I was eager to learn more about the work they were doing inWellingtonto prepare for their “Big One”. I was very impressed… read more