Self-Organising Communities


The role of technology in disaster response and community preparedness.
19 Tory Street Community Gallery at 5pm on Thursday April 11th.

Scientists, academics, entrepreneurs, anarchists, and public servants are coming together in Wellington for an evening of quick-fire presentations exploring how technology is changing the way communities organise themselves and respond to disasters, at the 19 Tory Street Community Gallery at 5pm on Thursday April 11th.

“One of the key lessons from the Christchurch earthquake is that highly connected communities can be quicker and more effective in responding to crisis, especially when they’ve got access to the right tools,” says event organiser Richard D. Bartlett.

“It was really inspiring to see the Student Volunteer Army come together through social media, then roll out their own software to coordinate volunteer disaster relief efforts while Civil Defence had their hands full.” Bartlett says.

The lessons learnt from Christchurch have given a clear focus to the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office’s Community Resilience Strategy, which emphasises the importance of connected and resilient communities in disaster response.

“When the big one hits, it’s not going to be the government that turns up to help – it’ll be your neighbours”, says researcher Simon Tegg, who will be speaking about the shortcomings of institutions in assessing flood risk. “It’s really important that communities are equipped with the right technologies to take care of themselves in a disaster.”

A diverse range of speakers will discuss topics ranging from the potential for online tools to improve community resilience – with a specific focus on disaster response and preparedness. Speakers include:

  • Simon Tegg, speaking about his work at the Climate Change Research Institute on institutional shortcomings in responding to flood risk.
  • Raven Cretney on the role of Project Lyttelton’s timebanking infrastructure in post-quake community response.
  • Breccan McLeod, explaining how Thundermaps, a cloud-based service for geo-tagging information, can empower communities to respond in disaster situations.
  • Sam Buchanan, speaking from an anarchist perspective about community organising and resilience in Paekakariki.
  • Kerry McSaveney, who will explain WREMO’s Community Resilience Strategy and open the space for Tory Street residents and neighbours to brainstorm their own community resilience strategy.

Contact: Renee Rushton
027 245 5049


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