DIY urbanism is taking off…Yeah!

On this page we’re going to share with you other places around Christchurch (and further afield) that have taken a leaf out of Gap Filler’s book and activated some of their vacant spaces in creative ways.

SVA and Entre – Telogis In Our Backyard Competition

On 28 July, students from the Student Volunteer Army and UC’s Entre teamed up for the Telogis In Our Backyard work day. Six ideas were realised on vacant sites in Richmond, New Brighton and the Central City. In Our Backyard was a design competition where students were asked what they would put on a vacant site in Christchurch. The six winning ideas were given $500 to get it going. Gap Filler was asked to speak at the launch of the competition and gave lots of ideas to the students to get them going of how to activate vacant spaces as well as things to think about. Representatives from Gap Filler and Greening the Rubble then helped to pick the winning ideas back in June. There were many wonderful ideas, but some of them were not practical within the time frame or the budget!

Gap Filler’s Trent helped connect the ideas to a few vacant sites around the place and we mentored them through the process of realising a gap project. The different groups managed to get amazing sponsorship from lots of different places, so hats off to them. There was a┬álot for them to consider – how to install things safely, maintenance, chance of vandalism, community engagement, weather and more! Each winning design team was assigned a mentor from Entre to help them project manage to take the idea to reality. On July 28 a gang of students in coloured t-shirts turned up at each site to help make it real. GREAT! Talking to Andrew and Michelle from Entre, it sounds like they learned a huge amount in doing this, but was a blast and now they’re taking stock of what they managed to achieve in one day.

The projects are:

  • BMX/Pump Track – Cafe Valentino gap, Colombo Street, near Peterborough Street
  • Labyrinth – St Luke’s Church, Cnr Manchester and Kilmore Streets
  • Street Soccer – 222 St Asaph St, city (AKA Dance-O-Mat gap)
  • Foamapalooza – a children’s foam playground – 281 Pine Ave, New Brighton
  • 500 Days, an art mural for Christchurch – bricks painted with stories from the last 500 days submitted by the people of Christchurch – 40 Guild Street Richmond
  • Life Size Board Game – corner Marine Parade and Bowhill Road, North Shore

Read Gap Filler’s project report (PDF)

One of the ace things about this from our point of view, was that OTHER PEOPLE are picking up the idea of activating vacant sites and running with it. That’s what needs to happen city wide. Gap Filler is just one example of how to do it. Greening the Rubble another. It’s not necessarily for everyone and it’s just one model.

New Brighton and Kaipoi/Rangiora are communities that asked Gap Filler and Greening the Rubble to come and speak to them, to get them going on projects of their own. And so they are.

Read here to see what’s been going on in Kaiapoi thanks to the Rubble Rousers.

Kaiapoi children tie-dying up (PDF)

Expect the unexpected (PDF)

Kaiapoi’s art gallery (PDF)

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