Earthquakes are mysterious. I’d always had the impression the kind of devastation they wrought was random. Large in scale, but random. Visiting Christchurch last week my understanding of the absolute annihilation they can inflict changed.
Nearly every one of the Cities beautiful churches and buildings of note seems to have been specifically targeted. Any building above three stories is gone. Where corner dairies stood, flattened lots remain. Its as if though someone drew a circle around the downtown area and said, “bomb that bit”.
Various folks at the Software Summit I was speaking at in Christchurch shared photos with me of ruined homes. It takes some resolve to hang about after watching your business and home destroyed. It takes something else though to hang about while the ground continues to rumble, buildings stand abandoned, their windows smashed and curtains billowing out; and, a once lively downtown is empty and dark at night.
Christchurch clearly needs help. And it is going to need help well into the future if New Zealand’s second largest city is going to be all it once was. I believe it can and will. The people and businesses remain steadfast. And the companies I saw yesterday are innovating like crazy. Its those entrepreneurs that will create not just jobs, but hope and meaning for the city.
It got me thinking about how technology and social media could be used to help regenerate Christchurch. I use that word specifically. Rebuilding will take much longer. Nature needs to stop its rumbling – things need to settle down. But the regeneration can begin now.
- Could a platform like Ideastorm be used to bring ideas and thinking together? This could be a great way to engage people around the world in regenerating the city and business.
- How about listing projects on Basecamp and inviting us all to contribute time and energy to ideas that drive outcomes?
- Where is the blog and feed that speaks to the progress being made – and things going on that we can get behind? Like the Arts Festival?
- What about a summit of technology leaders that clearly defines a technology centred vision for the city? I’d be in for supporting that.
So, as you watch the Rugby World Cup over the next month, spare a thought for the people of Christchurch and see what you can do to help. Go visit. Look to support a business there. Offer support.
They need it.