Reports say that the cost of rebuilding Christchurch could be as high as $30 billion dollars. That’s nearly $7000 for every man, woman and child in New Zealand. What does that tell you? It tells me that Christchurch was too darn big. More than one in every eleven people in New Zealand live in Christchurch – proportionately, that’s nearly half again as large as New York.
Now of course we have to spend that money. I’m not proposing that the residents of Christchurch live in a tent for the rest of their lives! But do we have to rebuild it as a single city? What if there’s another earthquake ten years from now?
Better, I’d have thought, to expand other towns and cities where possible, and perhaps even build one or two new towns or cities if suitable areas can be found. How about we try to limit population in any one city to 100,000 or so? Modern technology has reduced the advantages of centralization, at least to some extent; I suspect we cluster together as much out of habit as anything else. (Water supply is perhaps the main practical issue in terms of where new towns could be placed, and which towns could or could not be expanded.)
And yes, I know … don’t even get me started on Auckland. 🙂