February 20th, 2012

At 12:51pm on February 22nd 2011, our city, Christchurch, New Zealand, was struck by a devastating earthquake. Buildings around the city succumb to some of the largest ground accelerations ever recorded in an urban area during an earthquake, anywhere. Parts of our office collapsed. Friends perished. As we walked out of the city that day, seeing and hearing things I never thought I'd experience in my life, the entire downtown area was cordoned off by police and army.

Today, as the first anniversary approaches, significant aftershocks still continue - almost 10,000 so far - the police cordon is still in place, blocking public access to the entire central city area. Almost two thirds of the buildings in the downtown area have been, or are scheduled to be demolished. Entire suburbs have been forced to abandon their homes, as they await demolition. Our city has been destroyed. It's hard to find a natural disaster anywhere which has a larger effect on a country than this earthquake is having here. In relative terms, the effect on New Zealand is equivalent to around 8 Hurricane Katrinas, or around 3 2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunamis. Christchurch needs serious help to recover from this once in 10,000 year event.

On the first anniversary of the darkest day in our city's history, I would like to start something positive, an attempt to help save this place I grew up in from oblivion.

On Wednesday 22nd of February 2012, all our apps will be reduced in price. 100% of the proceeds of all sales for the day will go into seeding the formation of a charitable trust with the explicit purpose of kickstarting the creation of a built environment for a safe, vibrant, sustainable downtown Christchurch people can inhabit again.

It's time to start rebuilding our city.

Layton Duncan


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