For $2 in Christchurch you can do a thing. In one of the many vacant plots there is a dance floor. You can put your coin into the washing machine and connect your phone. Boom. Your music plays over a shared dance floor. Last night there was a mixture of hipster youngsters and baby boom ballroomers mixing it up. Next to the dance floor is an art installation that is part maze, part light show. It is a mini adult play ground.
Christchurch is in the process not just of repair but also of reinvention. When such large chunks are removed or damaged, it isn't just a case of dusting yourself off and getting on with it. It doesn't get rebuilt overnight. It takes time. During that time the spaces can be used very creatively. There is a 'mall' made of of shipping containers. It makes you wonder why more malls aren't made like this!
We often think of gold as a form of insurance. If things go really wrong, the theory is you will have gold to exchange since that is what we used to use as a form of money. That is pretty much the only thing that gold is good for, and it isn't actually that good at that. A bunch of 0s and 1s does a better job. Gold doesn't make anything. I think a better form of insurance is education, creativity and vitality. The ability to take whatever life throws at you and get back up. Christchurch is getting back up.
It is sobering sitting in a restaurant eating dinner on one corner of a city square, and looking out at vacant plots on each of the other three corners. It is sobering looking at the 185 empty chairs which commemorate those who were lost. But I have to admit to feeling rather invigorated seeing a city starting to regrow from the rubble.
The $2 thing shows you don't need gold when you've got moves.