There are still many signs of the devastating 6.3 earthquake that hit the beautiful city of Christchurch on February 22, 2011. Aside from the deconstruction that is taking place in the CBD, many grand old homes can still be seen abandoned and with obvious signs of significant damage – 18 months later.

I had to go into Christchurch last week and took a route I don’t normally take. I was sorry to see one of the older style of home leaning slightly to the left and with part of its roof open to the skies. It was totally abandoned and I guess is slated for demolition.

And speaking of demolition, the 14-storey Radio Network house was blown up a few days ago. Well, demolished via a series of explosions. The great part is that the button was pressed by a 6 year old boy who has cancer. A number of construction companies bid on TradeMe (the New Zealand version of eBay) and the winning bid was NZ$26,000. The consortium of companies then gifted the job of pressing the button to the young boy. Nice gesture. You can watch the implosion here. Gone in a matter of seconds.

And the vision and plans for the new Christchurch were unveiled last week. I really like what’s in store for us. There’s an emphasis on sport and exercise with a 35,000-seat covered stadium planned, cycle ways and a sports facility with a competition-size swimming pool, leisure pools and eight indoor courts. No building will rise higher than 8 storeys. The city will also be divided into areas: sport, art, entertainment, justice and retail. There are many shops and boutiques planned, which will follow the winding river Avon (still the heart of Christchurch). There’s an animated video of what the new Christchurch will look like here.

I heard Prime Minister, John Key, say it will look a bit like Melbourne. Yeah, well only Melbourne can look like Melbourne – and I’d rather see something different. I certainly like the idea of a low-rise city and looks like the size of the CBD will be much smaller too. If you’re interested to read more about the Christchurch rebuild, you can check out tons of documents on the City Council website.

There have been a ton of complaints about how long its taken to get going on the rebuild but I don’t think this can be rushed. A city is literally being rebuilt, so why not take the time to seriously consider smart design and how Christchurch people can enjoy a brand new space.

A grand old Christchurch home – typical design – but now sitting abandoned and forlorn.