Transitional Ethics and Aesthetics: Reimagining the Postdisaster City in Christchurch, New Zealand


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    The 2010 and 2011 earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, resulted in significant loss of life and injury and in the devastation of much of the center and east of the city. They also shook the foundations, structures, and assumed relations that had previously made the city legible, and in their aftermath the city was marked not only by a mournful sense of living with the hurt but also by coconstructions of new senses of life and place, involving alternative imaginations and performances of place. In this article we focus on how the event of the Christchurch earthquakes has summoned forth previously repressed and little noticed ideas and practices of transitional urbanism. Starting with localized performances of improvised community empowerment, a group of emergent transitional organizations in the city has begun to model new kinds of ethical fidelity to the perceived nature and potential of the earthquake event, especially in terms of transitional experimentation, civic rights of in-commonness, and the performance of aesthetic connection. With the passage of time, transitional organizations have connected these local priorities into wider international networks of transitionalism, acting as imagineers of transnational transitional activity. We argue, therefore, that the irruption of alternative imaginations and performances generated by the earthquakes needs to be understood in terms of both local and transnational assemblages of transition. Not only has fidelity to the event of the Christchurch earthquakes afforded opportunities to reshape collective engagements at the local level but it has also begun to influence transitionist activity in broader global society
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1922-1940
    Number of pages19
    JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
    Issue number6
    Early online date3 May 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2019


    • evento
    • fidelidad
    • terremotos de Christchurch
    • ética y estética transicional


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