Placemaking at One Central

Six inner-city blocks full of diverse activities, social enterprise experiments & public amenities form part of a placemaking programme in partnership with major developer Fletcher Living. 

A partnership in growing community

Imagine six inner city blocks full of diverse activities, social enterprise experiments, public amenities – all exploring different ways we can grow community now, and sustain it in the future residential development to come. This is Placemaking At One Central, a partnership between Gap Filler and Fletcher Living to help create great central city residential communities.

It’s the first time in New Zealand that a major developer is partnering with community and social innovators to run a programme of community-building activities at the pre-development stage. The programme will be rolled out over 5 years and is being largely funded by Fletcher Living. This initiative is a big win for many Christchurch civic groups, who have been advocating for years for more community involvement in and alongside long-term developments.

Short-term into long-term 

In this programme, Gap Filler’s primary role has been to facilitate other groups to realise temporary, community-minded projects on the East Frame land, and then to ‘fill in the gaps’ with some of Gap Filler’s own original projects. These projects are specifically trying to explore how the temporary activations can help foster long-term community outcomes in the new development.

Placemaking at One Central became a reality in November 2017, with the first projects going live, and will run until at least November 2021. The final East Frame apartments are due to begin construction in 2022.

Gap Filler has been experimenting for a long time now with ways our (and other) temporary projects can have long-term community outcomes. Recent projects such as Super Street Arcade and our DiversCity Ping-Pong tables could be permanent features of any cool city, not just short-term disaster recovery. Placemaking at One Central is a logical leap forward, growing community over the course of several years before, around and within a major residential development.

Slackline Park

The South Island’s only dedicated park for slacklining. At first glance, it is similar to tightrope walking and is accomplished by stretching and tensioning a 1”– 2” wide length of nylon/polyester webbing between two anchor points. Realised in collaboration with the ChCh slacklining community.

Willows on Worcester (now decommissioned)

A beautiful living sculpture designed by second-year architecture students at Ara Institute and their lecturer. An aesthetic piece, nice for a picnic area and for kids to play in and around. 

Gloucester Green

A large (9000m2) bookable central city event space, hired out for commercial uses so we can subsidise community events. Has hosted gigs by Fatboy Slim, Shihad & Katchafire; Zirka Circus and Cirque Grande; a family play area as part of the Santa Parade; the Canterbury Kings cricket season launch, a Kombi motorshow; and more.


A central city food collective, with Gelatiamo, Smoke’n’Barrel, Uso Barber and Kai Run.  (More about 03Eatery)

Youth Space

Office space by day for Christchurch Youth Council and Canterbury Youth Workers Collective, a bookable youth events venue on nights and weekends (a partnership between Gap Filler, CYC and CYWC). With a basketball half-court and Up Up Up bouldering rocks by Christchurch City Council and outdoor ping-pong by Gap Filler.

Detour Snake Run

An alternative path for commuters to travel along different terrain. To mix up their normally flat route around the city we’ve created a fun, exciting and playful detour from the linear pathway running through Rauora Park. Designed for all wheels and age of rider, the asphalted route is made up of several sections of exciting bumps, banked turns and curves suitable for bikes and wheeled contraptions of all sizes.

City Putt and Cruise

A heritage-themed mini-golf course incorporating salvaged bits of buildings and other artifacts to tell the history of the neighbourhood (a partnership between Chris Milne, Gap Filler, Heritage NZ, and Christchurch City Council). (More about City Putt and Cruise.)

Giant Spray Cans

An evolving art space for emerging street artists to get legitimate practice, and for established artists to create prominent works (a partnership between OiYOU!, Gap Filler, and DTR crew).


A biiiiiig swingset that also lines up to make a perfect frame for your photos. This was a project developed with a group of local young people and supported by the Red Cross. For serious swingers of all ages. 

Good Spot

A community-run car park where all the income supports One Central neighbourhood projects (created by Gap Filler). Good Spot features real, live human attendants each Monday to Friday morning who are supported by local NGO Te Whare Roimata. These folks are recovering from various struggles (such as homelessness and addiction) and help run the carpark, wash your windscreen or help you with your ticket. Money they earn helps them and ICECyles (Inner City East Cycle Project).  (More about Good Spot)

Who, what, where, when

Date: December 2016 – present

Locations:  6 city blocks, Lichfield to Armagh Streets, Christchurch City

Client/Funder: Fletcher Living

Values: Participation, Collaboration

Key Collaborators: Te Whare Roimata, Christchurch Youth Collective, City Putt & Cruise, Christchurch Slackline crew

Placemaking at One Central

Look Book ( Nov. 2019) 

People have often asked me: “How successful do you think it is” or “how do you measure it?”

I suppose the easiest ways for me to measure it is to go down to one of the project sites and look at the smiles, particularly at the Youth Hub. People are there at midnight, at midday playing basketball… The smiles on the faces say it all.

Mark Doyle

Fletcher Living