It's hard to believe that seven years have passed since my home city of Christchurch, New Zealand changed forever. On February 22, 2011, at precisely 12:51pm, an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale leveled the city. I kid you not.
For many other earthquake-ridden cities around the world, it took an earthquake of much greater magnitude to cause anywhere near the same level of devastation, but even then, it's not nearly every building in the CBD that needs to be demolished. Over 70% of the buildings suffered irreparable damage during that quake, continuing to stand only just long enough so people could get out. Some buildings didn't even do that. Whole suburbs, most of East Christchurch, needed to be abandoned and bulldozed to the ground — and because if it, we have a severe housing shortage, even seven years later. But what really makes Christchurch so unique is that we were already a broken city.