An exciting new space for youth in the CBD of Christchurch is to be launched by Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration Megan Woods today, with three of New Zealand’s top street artists painting giant spray cans.
Located on the corner of Manchester and Lichfield streets, the space is the start of an initiative aimed at activating parcels of vacant land within the residential development currently known as East Frame, a partnership between Fletcher Living and Ōtākaro Limited. Fletcher Living has committed $1 million of funding to this programme.
This project includes large ‘spray can’ sculptures where local street artists will be running workshops; a free bookable youth space for gatherings, meetings and events, which will double as the headquarters for two local youth organisations, Canterbury Youth Workers Collective (CYWC) and Christchurch Youth Council (CYC), a ping pong table and, thanks to the Christchurch City Council’s Enliven Place Programme, climbing rocks and a half basketball court
Fletcher Building Chief Executive of Residential and Land Development Steve Evans said it was the first time a major company had teamed up with community and social innovators to run a programme of community-building activities at the pre-development stage. “With the residential development scheduled to take up to ten years to complete, we recognised that enlivening the vacant spaces was a key component of bringing people back into the city. That is why we bought on board our place-making partner, Gap Filler, to assist us to breathe new life into the area and create interest among the general public in becoming part of the new neighbourhood.
“From my experience working to regenerate parts of London, it’s important that we create a variety of places within the community for people to socialise, be creative and enjoy themselves.”
Ōtākaro Chief Executive Albert Brantley said: “Everything we are launching today is about turning spaces into people places. This area has been a little unloved in recent times. Ōtākaro finishes Rauora Park before Christmas. These fun, temporary activities and a vast new park will bring people back to this place and allow them to connect with the iconic Margaret Mahy Family Playground. It’s like a giant backyard for the central city community and the new community that will develop with the new homes.”
Gap Filler co-founder Ryan Reynolds said: “These projects are specifically trying to explore how the temporary activations can help foster long-term community outcomes in the new development.
We really want to influence the creation of a long-term community and embed more of our values in the city. The type of work we’ve been doing, for seven years now, has an important role to play making sure the rebuilt city captures and capitalises on the high-level of community involvement in civic life since the quakes.”
Canterbury Youth Workers Collective Project Manager Hamish Keown said: “The Canterbury Youth Workers Collective has been working alongside Gap Filler and the Christchurch Youth Council in this co-design process to ensure that young people have a space in their city that they can use and engage with. Having positive youth development at the heart of this space and process gives us confidence that their vision for the space will be fulfilled”.
The construction site, currently referred to as East Frame, is a partnership between Ōtākaro and Fletcher Living, and aims to create a diverse neighbourhood made up of 15 super lots, with 900 new homes delivered by 2026.
The first 20 homes are due for completion by spring next year, with 180 homes due for completion by 2019.
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About the residential development site:
The East Frame development is a new residential neighbourhood located at the heart of Christchurch, surrounding the third largest central city park. The East Frame covers around 20 percent of the inner city core and is expected to house more than 2,000 residents.
The development will provide a number of housing choices creating a desirable, connected neighbourhood that will enhance the inner city residential character of Christchurch. East Frame will combine residential and retail, private and shared spaces and will ensure easy connection with surrounding commercial precincts and residential neighbourhoods.
The first group of new homes, in Superlot 4 next to the Christchurch Club, are underway, and site remediation works are under way on Superlot 7 on the corner of Madras and Lichfield Streets, bordering the Innovation Precinct and the bars and eateries tucked away in the laneways.
At this stage it is envisaged that within the East Frame residential development, there will be a wide range of home types to suit a variety of buyers. With this in mind, homes are likely to start around $400,000 and range up to $1.4m.
About Fletcher Living in Christchurch:
About Gap Filler:
Gap Filler is a creative urban regeneration initiative that facilitates a wide range of temporary projects, events, installations and amenities in the city. It began in 2010 and has realised 75+ projects in the city such as the Dance-O-Mat, Sound Garden, Pallet Pavilion, The Commons and more.
More information about the youth space components:
The first projects include a temporary youth space with indoor and outdoor activities, run by two local youth organisations; large ‘spray can’ sculptures where local street artists will be running workshops; a relocated and reinvigorated Kakano Cafe; a community-run car park, where all the proceeds support community activities in the neighbourhood; a mini golf course that explores and reveals the rich history and heritage of the inner city east area.
The East Frame youth project is delivered in collaboration with the Christchurch City Council’s Enliven Places Programme which has provided a new half-court basketball court and climbing boulder activity for the space. The Enliven Places Programme identified a growing need for more youth friendly activities and facilities in the Central City through a youth engagement process undertaken in 2016.
One aspect of the site that is already drawing attention is the Giant Spray Can Evolving Art Space. Originally seen in the Spectrum Street Art Festival, the Giant Spray Cans were repurposed for the project by the Oi You! Team and thanks to engineering support from Aurecon have been installed on site ready for young artists to practice their skills.
Local street art pioneers Wongi and Ikarus will help manage the cans and run a programme of workshops and events with young artists, as well as offering their own skills for semi-permanent works on site.
The Christchurch Youth Council and the Canterbury Youth Workers Collective are two organisations collaborating to champion youth development in the city. The staff of these two groups will be based in the building on site and manage the indoor space as a free bookable space for organisations working for the benefit of young people.
Other aspects to note on site include: the Ping Pong table which began its life as part of Gap Filler’s DiversCity project at the Bridge of Remembrance, light poles recycled from Victoria Square and Cashel Mall and spaces deliberately left blank for the Youth to develop their own projects.