Paving way to urban vitality

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 11:05 28/12/2013

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A mother-daughter combo have livened up a corner of Palmerston North with some painted pavers.

Bronwyn Zimmerman and her mother, Minty, have transformed a section of Main St's footpath, near The Square, outside the Zimmerman Contemporary Art Gallery, with a lick of black paint.

Ms Zimmerman signed up for the Palmerston North City Council's place-making project earlier in the year, which challenged people to come up with creative ideas to improve streets and neighbourhoods through urban design features. About two dozen sets of do-it-yourself place-making kits were claimed by city retailers, professionals and residents, each tasked with transforming a corner of the city. The kits were designed by Australian urban design guru David Engwicht, who says the vitality of a street is entirely dependent on how the retailers relate to it and not what they have got in their shop.

"It's about creating a sense of home," he said.

Ms Zimmerman, who was part of the council's initial uptake, convinced her mother to sit on the sidewalk with her yesterday to spruce up the piece of pavement outside her art gallery.

"This piece of footpath isn't as nice as other areas, which are all paved and landscaped," Ms Zimmerman said.

"It's a bit left behind and forgotten, but instead of complaining we thought: what can we do?"

With paintbrushes in hand, the pair stencilled cobbled pavers on to the concrete in the morning and spent the afternoon colouring them in.

Ms Zimmerman said the interest from passersby - musing whether the markings were inspired by cow spots, giraffe spots, 101 dalmatian spots, or just 3D looking black holes - made it all worth while.

One person even tooted and gave the pair a thumbs-up for their efforts.

"We're just bringing a bit of life and a bit of fun to the corner," Ms Zimmerman said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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