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Greening the Rubble and Filling the Gaps

Since September 2010, four major earthquakes and almost 11,000 aftershocks have shaken the city of Christchurch, NZ. The people have come together, taken ownership of their community, and created art or gardens in the shadow of the distruction.

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Written by DeletedUser

Following the Christchurch earthquakes, there have been many intiatives and community movements to strengthen the city's feel of community and security. Two of the larger projects are:


Gap Filler (
Gap Filler is a creative urban regeneration initiative started in response to the September 4, 2010 Canterbury earthquake, and revised and expanded in light of the more destructive February 22, 2011 quake.

Gap Filler aims to temporarily activate vacant sites within Christchurch with creative projects for community benefit, to make for a more interesting, dynamic and vibrant city.

The group includes local community groups, artists, architects, landowners, librarians, designers, students, engineers, dancers – anyone with an idea and initiative! They lower the barriers, by handling the legal contracts and liability insurance, to help ideas become a reality.
Gap Filler is temporary in nature, seeking to activate vacant sites for relatively short periods, to demonstrate that the city can grow in important ways without large capital expenditure or major construction.

By focusing on Community Engagement, Experimentation, Leadership, Creativity, Resourcefulness, and Collaboration Gap Filler has established a distinct and vibrant culture of innovation and creativity in activated urban spaces.

Greening the Rubble (

Greening the Rubble is a group of projects to create six quiet and beautiful temporary public gardens in the city as ‘tranquil places’. As with Gap Filler, the gardens are intended to be temporary (last from 2012 to 2014) and are centered around reaching out the the community's need for security and tranquility. Partners in this project come from different languages and cultural groups, each bringing a distinctive perspective to the use of the space, types of garden structure and choice of plants.


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As a New Zealander, I'm loving that this inspiration came from a global member of our OpenIDEO community, Kevin! It also highlights the 'never waste a crisis' mantra. So much is being done to connect communities in Christchurch. I was visiting there last week and was impressed with the collective spirit on the ground.

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There's also been some great stuff being done by the Student Volunteer Army:

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