Transitional projects colour vacant spaces

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 25/08/2014

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OPINION: Cheap and cheerful "transitional projects" are helping transform Christchurch's vacant spaces.

Since the quakes the city council has been investing in transitional projects in the CBD to attract people and businesses back to the city.

They add colour and interest to areas laid bare by the quakes and demolition crews.

Inspired by the work of innovative groups like Gap Filler and Greening the Rubble, the council set up a Transitional City Projects Fund in October 2012 to give people the opportunity to initiate vacant-space projects. Since then, 32 projects have benefited from the fund.

It has been used to help pay for the sonic arts festival, pop-up concerts, art installations around the city, a roller rink, a dance mat, and temporary activities like markets.

The most recent transitional project unveiled in the CBD is a 2.4 metre-tall hoarding which runs along High St between Cashel and Lichfield streets.

Nearly 50m long, it features images from early Maori through to late 20th century Christchurch and is part of the council's push to breathe some new life into the High St area.

Further elements will be added over the coming weeks, including artwork, landscaping, a visitor centre and seating.

More transitional projects are also planned for quake-battered Cathedral Square, possibly including a market.

Incorporating wi-fi into transitional projects gives people an added reason to linger longer.

It is not just the CBD to benefit.

Money from the Transitional City Projects Fund has been used to create a community amphitheatre in Lyttelton.

In Sumner, money from the fund is being used to set up a new weekly market focusing on arts and crafts, local products and vintage wares.

The fund has also been used to set up the Woolston Neighbourly Nook - a parklet on the site of the Woolston Plunket.

These transitional projects have brought life and energy back into our battered city and are likely to continue to do so for years to come, as walking past the empty sites that dominate the CBD it is clear the rebuild is going to take longer than many of us ever imagined.

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- The Press

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