Magnetic South - join the conversation about the long term future of Christchurch

Stephanie Pride's picture

Magnetic South

Magnetic South is an on-line conversation about the long term future of Christchurch.  It's free and anyone can take part.  The conversation will range widely in response to the the starter question "In 2021, when talent and investment are as scarce as clean energy, what will you do to attract them to Christchurch?"  We'd love as many people as possible to be involved in contributing their ideas about what will help Christchurch to thrive in the future. It's being run on the Institute for the Future's Foresight Engine gaming platform, where you post Twitter-sized micro-forecasts about the future.

The game site is up now and you can pre-register for the game and watch the game video.

We hope you'll play on 24 and 25 June

Location / Venue: 
Bronwyn's picture

The Russian Dacha Model

This comment is from the site below and was written on June 17th.
Author: Bronwyn Llewellyn (BA, Otago)

The Ringing Cedars of Russia books are transforming whole countries.
At this point in history it would be wonderful if we in New Zealand could join together to bring through the changes talked about in the books. Now is the perfect time to join together and take Action.

The Authorities in Christchurch need answers very quickly for the ongoing Canterbury earthquake disaster, relief and rebuild. In my heart of hearts, I know that the Ringing Cedars books provide the answers. It's a matter now of getting together to Co-create towards life-assuring outcomes by getting the right information into the right hands...

1) For the residents of Christchurch to be gifted land in Canterbury to build their homes once more, away from the earth-quake ravaged areas, to where they can plant and establish their family domains

2) For the people to become self-sufficient in every way including generating one's own electricity, collecting one's own water, as well as growing and producing food

3) Where the people and families are in the position in a very short time to receive income from the sale of their surpluses and their crafts, from their flower plantings, from farm home-stays, child-oriented farm visits, animal husbandry, cheese-making and bee-keeping workshops and innumerable other ventures.

This is my Dream for the families of Christchurch... to find safety and be re-born anew.

If you would you like to join with me in my Dream for the Co-creation of The Greater Good please become a member of this Group ( and join this Discussion. Christchurch City now languishes in ruins. So many homes now are either devastated or are deemed unliveable. A statistic on the News today said that 50,000 people need housing and they've only enough emergency housing for 16,000. And it's winter now in Christchurch with 12 degree days and sub-zero nights. We send the vibration of Love to you Christchurch.

I propose that there be an awarding of 'allotments' to the people of Christchurch who wish to get out of the city.

The people who wish to relocate and take up a Government 'allotment' which could be paid back over time once people receive their 'settlements', their Earthquake Commission pay-outs and their insurances. People should not have to pay big prices that Developers end up making a huge profit on. These relocated people would then have the potential to immediately become active, productive, happy and vital, with happy and safe children again within a very short time. If the authorities back the ideas that Anastasia talks about in the books and the people embrace the ideas and are given the opportunity to 'live out' these ideas in practice, there will be great successes on many levels - physical health, mental health, economically, self-esteem, education, welfare, a curtailing of criminal activities, the restoration of a sense of "belonging" that comes with working on one's own piece of land with one's own hands and resources, and which is so essential to human well-being.

If Christchurch does not take steps such as these, many 10's of thousands of people are destined to remain jobless, homeless, dependent on Government handouts and fall into clinical depression for a number of years to come with no way out. It is a far more cost effective initiative for the Government to buy up a few Canterbury farms (start with one as a Pilot) and divide these into 2 hectare plots which is the recommended area of land to be able to grow for one's family and give a surplus. My suggestion would be to run a 'screening programme' followed by a 'lottery'. People moving to the allotments would need to be willing to turn their land and buildings into sustainable producing ventures. It would be envisaged that people would be off benefits within 2-5 years let's say. The project could be started very soon with the process over the winter (July-Oct 2011) being to building modest pre-cut houses offsite that are transported to the sites in the spring. In the meantime, people can be sourcing seed and saplings for their new properties... and become acquainted with the principles in the Ringing Cedars books.

This week, the people of Christchurch have suffered enough. 3 earthquakes Magnitude 6 and over within the space of 9 months and many hundreds of after-shocks is more than enough for anyone's nervous system. There are answers out there... let this be one of them for those who choose to take up such a venture and turn it into the adventure of a lifetime.

If we can get these ideas up and running in Canterbury, New Zealand, the same practical principles can be applied to Japan, to Chile, to Pakistan, to Syria... anywhere that there is an urban humanitarian crisis particularly. It's really worth the effort to get this initiative heard among our politicians. It could provide a template for urban locations world-wide struck by disaster. In returning to the Land, we reclaim our health, well-being, independence and happiness.

Bronwyn's picture

Fruit and Vegetable bowl of the Central South Island

In 2-5 years, the Dacha (pr.da-tcha) homesteads will be producing enough surplus food stuffs to supply the remaining city-bound folk and those within the sprawling urban environs with produce. Peak Oil occurred in 2008 according to Michael Ruppert and we are currently in the stage of "systematic economic collapse" that he refers to as "The Bumpy Plateau". It IS happening right now. "Collapse" Blog 'Collapse Net' site

It is essential that people begin a return to the land and that each very large city has the surrounding farmlands returned to 2-3 acre Homesteads whose primary source of income will be food production. The Oil Age is coming to a close very rapidly within this generation. Food production for the last 100 years has been heavily reliant on oil. We need to return to the soil and plant. The produce that is taken into the cities could very well be transported by Coach-line... Yes, I AM talking about teams of horses.

Do we want to survive? This is the way to do it. There are many forces simultaneously coming into play that need to inform the civic restructuring of the Canterbury region and of Christchurch City as a result of the September '10, February '11 and June '11 Earthquakes. Planning cannot discount the imminent collapse of the US dollar, the very imminent collapse of the Euro, the collapse right now of the Japanese economy...

The world is still a Global Village and communications and International Relations are purported to be civil. However, we will not be trading as we have done over the past century. A New Millenium has most certainly dawned.

Return to the Land & Domination of the Rural by the Urban.

Hi, Bronwen.If you have been following TTNZ for a while you will know that I am broadly in the same camp as you are on this issue. I find your own site a bit hard to follow, seems very emotional rather than pragmatic. No worries there, just a matter of preference and diversity I suppose. I would like to raise a few points.

"each very large city has the surrounding farmlands returned to 2-3 acre homesteads whose primary source of income will be food production"- Isn't this largely predicated on the notion that "very large cities" even have a purpose in a sustainable society? City-centric societies are a product of a world where economic "laws" (generation / concentration of wealth) has precedence over thermodynamic laws (In order to be sustainable, EROEI equal or greater than 100% for the sum of human activity).This is basically a matter of political "balance of power". In a society where economic activity is in a period of "constant state" or "degrowth" (as it will be for many years hence), the cities basically are parasitic upon their rural hinterland. Administration, compliance, social, arts and business support programmes all paid for by the legally enforced collection of rates and taxes across the urban / rural divide. A great example is here in the Nelson / Tasman Region where the Nelson City Council Mayor's proposal for amalgamation of NCC and the (largely rural) Tasman DC has been endorsed by the Local Government Commission. The proposal document from the LGC states categorically that the result will be rates reduction for NCC, rates increase for TDC. This is parasitism of urban over rural, and central government / business round table promotion of political remoteness and urban elitism.

One thing I took from the "Magnetic South" game was the attachment the participants have to the the city, either as they used to know it, or in it's potential for the future. One question that was never asked, indeed the question "In 2021, when talent and investment are as scarce as clean energy, what will you do to attract them to Christchurch?" seems to preclude it, is "what function (if any) will it have, do we really need it, is ie desirable as an entity?". It is the nature of things that opinion, agenda and opportunity emanate principally from the power bases of cities. I wish I'd made a point of this when Stephanie Pride first posted the headlining article, which is just a crude attempt to vindicate re-creation the "business as usual" scenario, and no doubt she is being paid hansomely by Christchurch City or central Government for her services to promote their agenda, see her profile here.

I think your idea about teams of horses Is the kind of fanciful romanticism that I am inclined to indulge in during unguarded moments! It may yet come to that though. I think light rail would be more acceptable to those who are not inclined to the idea that we may have to give up all vestiges of modernity. Anyway, in the last resort, horse traction on rails is incredibly efficient, durable and cheap to build.

Bronwyn's picture

Hey there Kev

Sorry my friend... I got half way through your second paragraph and gave up. I really don't understand what you're saying. It appears we speak different languages *sighs* ... no worries.

When I studied Music Composition our lecturer drummed into us, "Communication, Communication, Communication". He made us write our essays in very plain English. He basically said: if you're writing music that your orchestra can't 'understand' musically, you may as well not have bothered. If your music isn't communicating to the audience... through some kind of emotional connection, you may as well not have bothered...

"City-centric societies are a product of a world where economic "laws" (generation / concentration of wealth) has precedence over thermodynamic laws (In order to be sustainable, EROEI equal or greater than 100% for the sum of human activity)... " (and so on and so on and so on....)

Sorry ~ i've got no frame of reference for this stuff... right? Maybe you can explain all of this in a much simpler way. That would be cool :)

And to answer to your first paragraph: "Yes". I was feeling very emotional when the last Christchurch earthquake hit. Weren't you? :)

You might like to visit the site again. Front Page material is always changing :)


Bronwyn's picture

Read the Ringing Cedars of Russia books Kevin

Anastasia talks about these things so simply and clearly in the Ringing Cedars of Russia series. There's 9 books in the collection. It's as though she speaks directly into your heart and reconnects the neurons so that you know you always knew what she is saying. Her words are not new... they are very old and have been sitting within us for a long, long time. When people, including myself and others, read Anastasia's words, it feels like i'm saying: "I remember now". And then the 'need' for anything more complicated than a billy over an outdoor camp fire feels entirely superfluous and an incredible waste of energy and happiness. Horses would be all good :)

As I was going cross-eyed at your response above Kevin (i've now managed to read most of it... still difficulty understanding certain passages) I realised I forgot to thank you for your response to my Post.

Thanks Kevin. I 'know' you're "in my team". It's just that we're from different tribes so haven't learned the other's language yet :D

Nite ~
from Bron