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Greening the Rubble project earns its keep

Greening the Rubble project earns its keep

When we spoke to the folks behind Greening the Rubble earlier this year, they had high hopes for their voluntary project, which converts earthquake-damaged spaces into recreational, green havens, albeit temporary. The effort looks to have paid off with the project picking up a Christchurch Civic Trust Award for its “unique initiative and enterprise in the temporary enhancement of empty spaces left after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes”. 

Students, landscape designers, gardeners and professionals from a wide range of backgrounds have all contributed to the creation of the mini public parks, which are constructed on private land, under a license agreement with owners. Leases range anywhere from six months to a few years. 

Its very first project, Victoria Green, was located on what was the former Asko Design site. It featured trees in metal planter boxes and simple informal seating made with metal gabions (boxes) filled with broken bricks from the earthquake. The Victoria Green landscape is scheduled for redevelopment in 2012 meaning parts of the temporary park have already been recycled to new sites. 

Another garden area was completed in August at 256 St.Asaph Street, near High Street at the front of a Wilson car park. It faces the Red Zone fence and like the Victoria Green space, features rubble contained in wire gabions that support recycled plank seats. There are also kowhai trees in metal planters; decorative paving of bricks and lime-chip, and plants that are protected from summer heat and winds by bark mulch.

Work on three more mini sites will commence this Saturday. Located around the city’s Bus Exchange, it will feature seats made by Urban Paving, carrying the phrase ‘kia kaha Christchurch’. 

Judith Roper-Lindsay, volunteer chair of Greening the Rubble's strategy group, said the project couldn’t have been a success without the “fabulous” business support and donated materials.

“This valued help has come from an almost A to Z of helpers.” 

The project is currently hosted by national charity Living Streets Aotearoa and will form into a locally-based charitable trust next year.