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Making do: Tactical urbanism and creative placemaking in transitional Christchurch, New Zealand

Barber, Rachel (2013) Making do: Tactical urbanism and creative placemaking in transitional Christchurch, New Zealand. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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When disaster struck Christchurch, New Zealand in 2010 and 2011 as a series of devastating earthquakes, the damage was so great that it left many parts of the city, including the former Central Business District, as virtual wastelands. Where once people lived, worked and shopped now lay a vast network of gravel squares, underutilised and underwhelming, with future construction still uncertain. In the aftermath of the earthquakes a number of local community organisations formed, with a view to transform these neglected spaces into vibrant temporary public spaces, by using tactical urbanism and creative placemaking methods to activate the sites. The sites are designed to act as placeholders, until such time as the city’s permanent structures can be rebuilt, whilst also serving as an opportunity for urban experimentation in a low-cost, low-risk way. Three organisations in particular - Gap Filler, Greening the Rubble and Life in Vacant Spaces - were instrumental in achieving these ends, with some measure of success. This dissertation seeks to examine Christchurch’s post-earthquake placemaking projects to investigate the circumstances which have organically produced creative urban interventions, before delving into the theory as to why they are required and why they might succeed at the task.

Publication Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Arts
Supervisor: Northcote, Jeremy
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