And, QSR International's innovative qualitative data analysis software NVivo 9 assisted the council in making sure that the people of Christchurch have been able to have a say in the way their city is to be rebuilt.
Suggestions from members of the public were received in all forms, including comments on shareanidea.org.nz, as well as sticky notes, video clips, questionnaires, children's art, video clips and telephone messages - in total, over 100,000 ideas were received.
In order to evaluate these suggestions, the city council engaged research services agency Academic Consulting, which used QSR's NVivo 9 software alongside council's own researchers to analyse the public's ideas.
Despite being one of the largest public consultation projects ever undertaken in the world, Christchurch council researcher, Patrick O'Neill, said that QSR's NVivo technology made it a much simpler process. 'The analysis of initial public ideas of what in normal times would be a two year scale project, took just eight weeks.'
'NVivo 9 made it possible for us to look at the data in ways that simply would not have worked manually. For example, using the visualization tools such as word trees and tag clouds we were able to get a quick impression of the most important topics and give the planners immediate insight into the public's ideas.'
Using NVivo 9 with its team of researchers, the council was able to look at the data collected from the public and develop recommendations based on insight into what the community wanted. This information was then passed onto the planners designing the new city centre, ensuring that members of the public had a very real input into how their city is rebuilt.
O'Neill said the analysis showed that things such as low rise, sustainable buildings that looked good and functioned well, more green spaces in Cathedral Square and less concrete were all important considerations for the people of Christchurch.