Three years ago, Christchurch experienced a sequence of earthquakes, which included an aftershock that produced the highest peak ground accelerations on record. The initial earthquake had a devastating effect on residential suburbs affected by liquefaction and lateral spread. Hundreds of commercial buildings were demolished and thousands of homes were rebuilt. Extensive damage was caused to schools and hospitals, and essential infrastructure. Yet, the city was able to re-establish essential functions quickly. The economy did not suffer as would be expected, due to the well-planned location of revenue-generating activities. The aftershocks continue today—the city has experienced more than 12,000 since 2010. And residents' mindset has changed following the shared experience. The city and its people are an example of a city "bouncing back.” Developing a resilience plan through a grassroots participatory planning process is a priority for the city's recovery so that communities, buildings, and infrastructure and systems are better prepared to withstand catastrophic events.

Resilience Challenges

  • Aging Infrastructure
  • Coastal Flooding
  • Disease Outbreak
  • Economic Shifts
  • Rainfall Flooding
  • Rising Sea Level and Coastal Erosion

Meet The Chief Resilience Officer

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Mike Gillooly is the Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) for the city of Christchurch. Prior to becoming CRO, Mike worked for 18 months as the Land Drainage Operations Manager for the Christchurch City Council. During that time he led the city's response to flooding, which increased in some areas following the sequence of devastating earthquakes that hit in 2010 and 2011.

Mike studied surveying at Otago University and passed his registration exams to become a professional surveyor in 1995. He spent the first part of his career involved in land development engineering and urban planning. He moved to Christchurch in 2000 and managed most of the large urban developments for the city at a time when it was experiencing significant urban growth. He led the review of the Council's infrastructure design standards, which led to a role as design manager for the Infrastructure Recovery Management Office after the September 2010 earthquake. After the more devastating February 2011 earthquake, he was re-assigned to work across multiple organizations to assess and understand the impact of land damage and flooding.

Snapshot of Christchurch

  • 375,900

    Population as of 2012

Around the World

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  • Coastal Flooding
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  • Economic Shifts
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  • Rising Sea Level and Coastal Erosion
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