'Arse parks' top of ideas list

20:49, Oct 08 2012
Parking spaces - George St
No parking: Cars have given way to people in a parking takeover in George St designed to slow traffic in Palmerston North and encourage pedestrians.

The conversion of a couple of car parks into places for people to sit is part of a George St makeover voted winner of Palmerston North’s placemaking competition.

A group of retailers calling themselves "Say-Do" –  because they do as they say – was judged winner by popular acclaim at a function at the Convention Centre last night.

Their prize will be a dinner with placemaking champion David Engwicht, on his next visit to the city to refine the DIY kits that he wants to spread around the country to encourage people to reshape empty spaces into people places.

The focal point of the George St makeover has been the placement of brightly-painted planter boxes on what used to be the road.

"The idea is to turn car parks into ‘arse parks’, because people are more important than cars," said project leader William Beauchamp.

Other features of the group’s project include providing activities for the children of shoppers, turning 50 George St into a performance venue, poetry on billboards and tattoo graffiti on available surfaces.

Next in the development will be construction of a plywood gateway leading into the area from the Harvey Norman car park on Main St.

The George St project was the favourite of 10 presented last night.

Other projects include brightening up the Regent Arcade and Broadway Ave; a welcome mat at the i-site; painting Terrace End’s public toilets; planting cut-out birds and flowers in The Square from Main St to Coleman Mall;  enhancing the new intersection at ‘‘Little Cuba’’ St; redeveloping Waitoetoe Park in Riverdale; bench seats around Chelwood St, and  things to do, look at and talk about along the length of Oxford St.

Mr Engwicht said the projects were "fantastic".

He was impressed that so much progress had been made in a short time.

The teams had worked on their ideas, drawing inspiration from the pilot placemaking DIY kits he launched in Palmerston North seven weeks ago.

He said the teams had gone beyond simply putting up decorations to make spaces more appealing for people.

"They have really got what placemaking is about –  how places work and how to have an impact on how people behave."

The other members of the winning group are Dawn Scrivener from Georgie Girl, mascot and handyman Tim Beale, Karilyn Andrew from Urban Charm, Denise Candy-Mason from Ink Tattoo Studio, James Pettengill from Tomato cafe and Rachel Bradley from Be Still Yoga.


Manawatu Standard