How the Council is enlivening places

As part of the Enliven Places programme, the Council delivers temporary projects that transform empty or underutilised spaces into vibrant and inventive areas in the central city and suburbs.

kids running under balloons A variety of artistic, social engagement, greening and wayfinding projects in collaboration with local communities. The projects aim to support activities and entertainment, and contribute to Christchurch's unique sense of place.


Summer Street Flags 2019

Enliven Places ran a competition seeking designs to display on street flags during the summer months. We asked entrants to share what they love about summer, and what it is about the season that is unique and special to Ōtautahi Christchurch.

Over 200 submissions were received, with seven designs selected as the final winners. 

The flags will fly over the central city from January to March 2020. They will bring colour to the streets, and help to celebrate this special time of year. 

See the winning designs. 

Light up the City 2019

An Enliven Places Project aimed at activating public spaces during the evening with interactive and fun lighting installations.

We asked for designs and poems from residents that showcase what they love about Christchurch. Twenty winning designs were projected onto Central City footpaths.

Spire by Shades Arcade took out the competition in the specialist category. The installation was installed in Cathedral Square. Nine spires changed colour as people move around the installation.

Talking Tree by artist Tim Budgen alongside students from Ara was a real hit in Cathedral Square. A tree came to life telling jokes and talking about places to explore in the central city.

Pop-Up Gardens 2018

An Enliven Places project enabled three community-designed pop-up gardens to be located in Cathedral Square over the 2018/19 summer season.

We asked for designs for small pop-up gardens for Cathedral Square. We received a number of quality submissions that showcased the communities creativity and vision for public spaces. Three winners were selected through a public vote. The gardens were installed in locations around Cathedral Square for the summer season. 

ShoPOP 2018

An Enliven Places Project aimed at activating the exciting new buildings being built in the central city.

Three empty shop fronts were transformed by artists in the city centre. 

The Council will continue to support short term, artistic activations throughout the Central City and suburban centres.

If you have a great idea and are looking for a space to activate, or you are a building owner with a shop that could use an activation, contact Life in Vacant Spaces(external link)(external link).


Central City Mural 2017

We asked the people of Christchurch to tell us what they wanted to see in a new Central City mural - and over 5,000 people got involved!

Watch Councillor Dion Swiggs ask the city for their input(external link)

Over a two week timeframe, onlookers marvelled as the design they chose came to life.  Watch the video below to see Brandon Warrell paint his design onto the wall of the Ibis Hotel in Hereford Street.

No Place Like Home 2017

Artist Flox created a vibrant and colourful mural to celebrate the opening of the Lichfield Car Park and Plymouth Lane.

Read about how Flox delivered this mural(external link)

Streets for People 2017

Streets for People was a large central city street party filled with family fun. It attracted 22,000 people back into the city to enjoy market stalls, food trucks, free entertainment and live music.

The event also served to encourage neighbourhoods to have their own party and set the ground work for a simplified street closure process.

Learn more about how to hold a street party with your neighbours.

Tiny Huts Design Competition 2016

The New Brighton Tiny Huts Design Competition invited people from near and far to submit their designs for small temporary structures that would attract and delight passers-by, capture people’s imagination, and inspire people to visit or to learn more about New Brighton. 

124 unique designs were submitted which were displayed at a public exhibition where people could vote on their favourites. The 5 winning designs spent the summer being enjoyed by visitors and the local community in New Brighton.

Projects gallery