The recent earthquakes in Canterbury make us reconsider how buildings are constructed and maintained, but the extent to which the new will be better than the old depends on the decisions Christchurch recovery agencies make now. The concept of ‘build back better’ has been extensively studied by researchers at The University of Auckland and Resilient Organisations and looks at ways in which Canterbury might rebuild. This concept’s origins can be traced to the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, which almost completely destroyed many communities. Reconstruction after disaster can often make those affected more vulnerable, and trading speed for quality when rebuilding can continue infrastructure weaknesses.
Build back better is based on improving a community’s physical , social, environmental and economic conditions during recovery. It requires the community, government agencies and construction industry to work collectively to improve the built environment by increasing community resilience and decreasing infrastructure vulnerability.