Open City

July 2018 – CURRENT

Open City is a celebration of undervalued, sweet, free things to do in Christchurch. It might be a good climbing tree in the Botanic Gardens, a quirky piece of street art or a great place for a picnic. These little secrets and more have been suggested by locals and visitors and can be accessed by visiting the Open City vending machine; a repurposed parking meter is now located at Placemaking at One Central, on Manchester Street in front of the 03 Eatery (just by corner with Cashel Street).  This unusual machine will vend you your own Christchurch secret, as revealed by a stranger, to explore that is located somewhere around the central city (within the four avenues). It’s perfect way to get to know your city better through someone else’s eyes.

Christchurch locals have contributed to an online database of sweet, free things to do which feeds into the vending machine. The Open City website allows you to upload your favourite sweet, free things to do for others to discover. Learners can contribute to this project by sharing their local knowledge – these things can be anywhere in Christchurch.  

Open City is available as a product for purchase and is adaptable to YOUR CITY. We can provide you with adapted parking meters and the Open City database and website ready to be populated by people in your city. For further information, please contact us on


Project Details

Name: Open City 
Dates: July 2017 –
Project Number: #62
Location: Manchester Street outside 03 Eatery, and website (and experiences all over the city)
Partners: All Right? Campaign, Engineers without Borders
Sponsors: Split’N2

Open City is a collaboration with the All Right? Campaign

Why/Need: Gap Filler created this project to respond to our ever changing city.  For many local people it has been a long time since they have visited the city.  This is a way for people to re-discover their favourite things to do in the city as well as explore new experiences.   

Gap Filler is working in association with the All Right? campaign on the Open City project. Together they are looking to actively promote the Five Ways to Well-being throughout the city (Connect, Take Notice, Give, Be Active and Keep Learning). At the heart of this project is a questioning of how we give value to things in our city; very often the things we value so much don’t cost money.

Lessons learned so far:

Collaboration – it takes time to fit in with everyone’s priorities and  objectives.

Communication – you need to be really clear about the project brief and communicate this clearly with others involved in the project.  

Open City is launched!

TV One – Helpful old parking meter in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square issuing tourist tips rather than tickets

Special thanks to:

  • Richard Harcourt for tech and making it work
  • Ciaran and Sue from All Right? for being great to work with
  • Keith Robinson from ITSL for the parking meter
  • Denise Fung for early design concepts
  • Engineers without Boarders (EWB) for tech and web design, especially Wesley
  • John Welfare for web support
  • Tim, Claire, Elliot and the MAKE crew
  • McCarthy for great design
  • Donovan at Great Scott Communications
  • Richard Barnacle for early project development
  • Clare Piper at CCC
  • City Care for installation
  • Underground Overground for being helpful