Latest update: 04/12/2017

New CBD youth space for Christchurch

December 2017

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 councils 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.