According to influential global magazine Foreign Policy, Christchurch is destined to become one of the world’s best cities.
But those of us who live there already think it is.
Sure, the city might have the shakes and look a little worse for wear.
Despite this, Christchurch has maintained its character and grace and sense of humor.
Lonely Planet writer Brett Atkinson, in town for a couple of weeks to update the Christchurch chapter of Lonely Planet’s New Zealand guide, discovered that a lot had changed since his last visit to the city.
The bars, cafes, and restaurants that he had written about for the 2010 edition of Lonely Planet New Zealand were no longer open. The February earthquake had made sure of that, as well as destroying many of the hotels listed in that guide.
Instead, Atkinson found a city that was reinventing itself.
Bars and cafes were popping up in unexpected places.
A whole new social hub, dubbed SoMo (south of Moorhouse Ave), has risen from the ruins and is now home to Christchurch’s iconic Court Theater (usually housed in the Art Center) and numerous cafes and bars.
Highlighting innovative actions such as the ‘gap filler’ and the container mall projects, Atkinson has labeled Christchurch one of New Zealand’s most exciting cities (a statement that warms the hearts of die-hard Cantabrians who have always felt a little like the ‘poor cousin’ to capital city Wellington and super-city Auckland).
The chapter will eventually be inserted into the 16th edition of the New Zealand guidebook (to be published in September).