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Friday, 8 April 2011

Community Engagement - Part 2

The idea of engaging with communities sounds nice, but more than a bit vague. What does it mean? And connecting, what does that mean? It looks like we will have to wait until the second meeting to find out what is behind these words.

Owning our own recovery has to be more than just connecting, community groups, community well being, and enabling (whatever is meant by these terms). This psycho social approach might just work in a small town, where a big industry has closed down, but it isn't going very far in our earthquake zone.

There is a risk that all this communities' work will become too narrowly focussed, fragmenting the city rather than uniting it, creating separate development rather than joint development. It also risks diverting attention from what has been learned in the last seven months, and stifling the desire to make structural changes that will better support and protect us in future emergencies.

Anyway, enough of the professional helpers for now. We need to have a view of "life as it should be", which requires figuring out what in Christchurch worked, and keeping it; what didn't, and disposing of it; and identifying what new things are needed.

In doing this two things must happen together: we plan for the future by describing the new city and its communities (the two are inseparable), and learn from the past by making better preparations for any future disaster. It is folly to think we are beyond the disaster phase, as was the mindset leading up to the 22nd, there are things to prepare for other than earthquakes and now is the best time to do that.

This is something we can do on our own, and feed up the chain. The best place to start is that which is still fresh in our minds: February 22nd and the city's state of preparedness.  We can do our own analysis of what happened, what succeeded, what didn't, why, and what ought to be done differently.

Once we have a handle on that, and maybe a geotech report, we can then look at local and city issues.

With your input the usual suspects on the committee will do this (anyone want to volunteer to assist?). To this end I will tomorrow send out to the mailing list a request for your comments and observations etc.

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