Friday 19 November 2010

Continuing to love Christchurch

Before the quake, it was the random appearance of art events.

Now, it's the creative use of new vacant lots where the old brick buildings used to be. Opening next week.
Gap Filler aims to temporarily activate vacant sites within the central city with creative projects, to make for a more interesting, dynamic and vibrant central city.

Gap Filler will see vacant sites - awaiting redevelopment as a result of the September 4 earthquake or otherwise - utilised for temporary, creative, people-centred purposes. Examples include: garden caf├ęs, outdoor cinema, live music, dance on a temporary dance floor and other creative responses to sites by local artists.

Gap Filler is temporary in nature, seeking to activate gap sites for around two weeks at a time, to demonstrate that the city can grow in important ways without large capital expenditure or major construction. Gap Filler projects can move from site to site as spaces become available around the city. All projects will be able to occupy or vacate a site within a day.

The central city needs our help! It was struggling prior to the earthquake and it is struggling even more now as a result of damage to, and loss of, many of our buildings and businesses.

This initiative is temporary and creative. With empty blocks of land suddenly activated, those that live and work in the city will experience their city in a different way. Others who don't typically spend much time in the city may also be lured in to experience these projects and sites.

A small group of enthusiastic, young creative professionals have come together to respond in a creative way to the shock and impact of the recent earthquakes on the central city. Included in the group are: a public art project manager, film society president and university lecturer, an architect, a graphic designer, a construction project manager and an installation artist. We will work with local artists and creative people to create more excitement for Christchurch residents this summer.
Downtown needs something like this. Folks with two year olds who love seeing construction equipment spend a lot of time downtown; Ira loves the huge digger sitting atop the pile of rubble in the middle of still-closed Manchester Street where it tears down the old Manchester Courts building.

But it's otherwise pretty depressing. I regularly go to an old-timey barber shop on Manchester Street. The other buildings in his block are condemned, the sidewalk's closed, there's no parking; I'm not sure how much longer he'll be able to stay open. We'll see if he's still there next week when I'm due. The commute to work down Ferry Road through Woolston is still a broken smile of missing and damaged buildings. Parts of town seem normal, then there's a vacant lot or what will be a vacant lot when the demolition crews get around to it. Not remembering what used to be in a vacant lot is somehow more depressing than remembering what was there and missing it.

GapFiller seems likely to bring small delights. Thanks guys! You rock.

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