About Space breathes new life into Lower Hutt, filling empty CBD and neighbourhood storefronts with creative, business and community projects.
About Space Hutt City is a programme that activates vacant shops between commercial tenancies.
Its focus is to add vibrancy to the area in and around the vacant space on a temporary basis, and help brighten our central city. About Space can showcase the creative side of the city through these short-term pop-ups. It's even a chance for new businesses to try running in a central space.
Activation reduces apathy around these spaces. It increases the visibility of spaces, which are cleaned, windows washed and the lights turned on.
The projects we support have a local focus and must bring new and unique ideas to our CBD. About Space's pop-up shops and community displays give our local artists, community groups and business owners a chance to shine.
Our latest projects
These projects highlight the current direction of About Space. While there are still a number of vacant shops in the CBD, there are a few that are not suitable for pop-ups. While we're searching for available and suitable shops, we are encouraged by the reaction to activating underused public spaces in the city centre.
Andrews Avenue and Parklet @ Waterloo Road
Andrews Avenue is the most recent temporary activation by Southend Business Group, RiverLink and Hutt City Council. Students from Wellington School of Design, Massey University have been working with the South End Business Group to design an interim plan for the public space at Andrews Avenue.
Hutt City Council received a proposal from Senior Lecturer Euan Robertson about the opportunity to hold a collaborative workshop to identify then reconfigure and reuse an overlooked space in the City. This project involved the Southend Business Group, RiverLink and NZTA.
This activation ends on 31 March 2020. Interested in giving feedback on this activation? Send your contact details to AboutSpace@huttcity.govt.nz to participate in a project survey.
Parklet @ Waterloo Road
This was Lower Hutt's first parklet conversion, which turned a bit of unused road reserve into a vibrant place for people. It is a great spot to enjoy the sun and eat lunch.
The parklet was a community project that included conversations with managers and staff from AMI, ACC and ANZ. As well as Management from Jenny Craig who helped champion the project.
Partners and supporters included ANZ, Mitre 10 Petone, Menz Shed Naenae and Resene. A special thanks to the local artists Aidan Walbaekkeen and Jayden Thomas both from The Learning Connexion. Their murals won Resene’s Best Community Mural in the 2019 Mural Masterpieces Competition.
About Space started in 2013. Since then we've worked to reduce the number of vacant spaces in the CBD:
93 projects across 42 properties and three public spaces
of the 42 properties, 22 are now commercially tenanted
many of those tenants are new businesses that brought over 60 jobs into the CBD
more than 31,000 people visited an About Space Project in the CBD.
The programme's success is largely due to the generous property owners that allow the use of the vacant spaces. The only benefit to the owners is staging the space for an eventual commercial tenant.
Recently About Space has been focusing on regenerating public space around the CBD and in Naenae. An approach called placemaking activates public spaces in a temporary manner, it invites the community to become involved in both its creation and use. Like activating vacant shops, activating public spaces add a vibrancy which connects people within the space.
About Space partnered with The Common Ground Public Art Festival in 2017 for a large multi-space activation at Centre City Plaza. The festival used seven vacant spaces and the public space to feature a variety of community art projects, talks and interactive workshops. More than 600 people visited the Centre City Plaza during the eight day festival.
Our work in the Naenae community
Following the success of About Space in the CBD we have set up an About Space programme in Naenae.
There are generous property owners in Naenae that allow their vacant spaces to be used, where the only benefit is staging the space for an eventual commercial tenant.
With housing developments happening in the community, we believe it's time to revitalise the first pedestrian shopping centre in New Zealand into a vibrant shopping centre again.
Apply to run a project
Apply to run a project in the CBD or in the Naenae community. Check back for updates on the exciting things happening in programme.
We're looking for vacant spaces
We'd like to thank the owners that have taken part in the About Space project over the last several years.
We've recently wrapped up some projects in the CBD and we're now on the lookout for new space in the city centre to revitalise and turn into vibrant business and community spaces.
Get in touch if you have a vacant space that you'd like to enliven. About Space is ideal for attracting new tenants into your retail space with a pop-up event.
Find out how to offer us a pop-up retail space, how to apply for a business trial or how to suggest a community project. Plus, find out how you can keep up to date with what we're doing in the CBD and Naenae.