What will our quake memorial be?
February 22: Our new city
Two years ago today, more than 180 people died across Christchurch.
The city was a disaster site, but it was also many separate disaster sites - some with huge losses of life, some which claimed a single life.
All were tragedies, but how does a city recognise and remember them all?
We will know in about three years' time, when an official earthquake memorial is unveiled.
No part of the project is easy.Grief, remembrance and memory are different for everyone, and realising a single entity to cater to all will be difficult.
Lincoln University associate professor of landscape architecture Jacky Bowering says international trends point to a memorial ''more like a place rather than a thing''.
''They don't tend to be statue on a podium. They tend to be more something that require you to experience them.
''Often it requires you to participate a lot more than if you just go in there and read a plaque ... and you move on without necessarily feeling anything."
Christchurch should follow the trend of a memorial as a space, Bowering says, and learn from recent errors.
''The memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin is essentially a kind of a landscape that you can walk through. The ... disorientation you feel is intentional on the part of the designer, to evoke feelings. It's not possible to represent it in a simple way.
Equally, a ''kneejerk'' commemoration of the victims of Hurricane Katrina, in Biloxi, Mississippi - the product of a reality television show - was a lesson in what not to do.
''[It was] well-intentioned but a very superficial kind of memorial,'' she says.
''You can see that over time it's going to become quite tired, it's not going to keep giving people opportunities to explore their own responses to things. It's very literal in its interpretation. That's the sort of thing if it happens too quickly.''
Timing is tricky: too soon and emotions are raw, too late and people forget.
Christchurch's five-year plan, culminating on February 22 2016, is about right, Bowering says.
''We're pretty much in the middle of not being too rushed and not taking too long.
''We have a very complicated situation in terms of those who are involved. A very international group of victims. It's not just us here in Christchurch.''
- © Fairfax NZ News