Temporary urbanism and urban sustainability after a natural disaster: transitional community-initiated open spaces in Christchurch, New Zealand

Wesener, Andreas
Journal Article
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Temporary uses of vacant urban spaces are usually not foreseen in conventional urban planning and have often been linked to economic or political disturbances. In New Zealand, Christchurch’s vacant spaces came into existence after the city was hit by several devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Parallel to the ‘official’ rebuild discourse, temporary uses have emerged on vacant post-earthquake sites including community gardens, urban agriculture, art installations, event venues, eateries and cafés, and pocket parks. Based on the review and analysis of exemplary transitional community-initiated open spaces and correlated literature, the paper looks at how the post-disaster urban context in Christchurch has influenced particular aspects of temporary urbanism in comparison with case studies in non-disaster environments. By focusing on the anticipated benefits of community-initiated open spaces, the paper discusses the relevance of temporary uses of vacant urban spaces for urban sustainability in relationship to concepts of community resilience and raises questions about possible long-term values. © 2015 Taylor & Francis.
© 2015 Taylor & Francis
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