"It's a fantastic concept not only nurturing talent and giving them a stage it also creates new interest in the space and adds to the vibrancy of our city."  Kevin Dee, Kevin Dee Realty

About UDB

Ngā mihi nui kia koutou katoa. Nau mai, haere mai. 

Urban Dream Brokerage provides space for new ideas in our cities. It has been run by Letting Space under the auspices of the Wellington Independent Arts Trust in Wellington between 2012-2018, with programmes also run in Porirua and Masterton. While these programmes have finished UDB carries on in Dunedin, which Letting Space managed 2015-2018. Space has been provided and assistance provided to over 100 out-of-the-box creative projects since 2013.

If you are interested in setting up a brokerage in your town we provide some notes on process here and a link through to some useful documents and templates to use. We have made our processes, license agreements, templates, forms and the wording on this site available for free use through a Creative Commons licence.

Working with property managers, artists, individuals and community groups UDB brokers the temporary use of space, be it public or commercial, empty or underutilised,  for innovative projects, assisting in urban revitalisation.

Urban Dream Brokerage's work aims to:

  • Increase diversity and community.
  • Reduce vacant space and increase citizen ownership in towns and cities.
  • Increase professionalism and help innovate business development.
  • Increase mixed use of the city's building stock.
  • See stronger representation of mana whenua in the city.
  • Increase public engagement in the city
  • See our cities known for their innovative use of space and public interaction.

For an introduction to what it's all about listen to this interview with RNZ's Wallace Chapman.

Alongside the support of property owners in the city Urban Dream Brokerage ha beens funded in Wellington by Wellington City Council and the Wellington Community Trust and in Dunedin by the Dunedin City Council and Otago Community Trust. We have run pilots in Porirua with the Porirua Chamber of Commerce, and in 2017 Masterton with Masterton District Council and Toi Aria Massey University.

Cities and towns have changed. Urban Dream Brokerage, along with other agencies around the world, reflect the need for us to work differently to meet the challenge of reflecting an increasing need for a diversity of functions.

A strong example of the impact of this work is in Newcastle New South Wales where Renew Newcastle has made a significant contribution to the revitalisation of the city, after changes in retail and living patterns saw the main street dying.

Economic analysis in Australia in 2012 shows the economic benefits of urban space renewal projects like UDB is at a benefit cost ratio of more than 10:1. That is, for every dollar invested in the programme it promises to generate ten-times that in economic benefit to the city.

Who WE are

Letting Space Managers: Mark Amery, Sophie Jerram and Helen Kirlew Smith

Broker - Wellington: Helen Kirlew Smith

Advisory Panel - Wellington: Wellington Property Council Wellington Branch President Mike Cole, WCC arts advisor Eve Armstrong, management consultant Liz Mellish, Wellington Company Leasing Manager Stathis Moutous, artist and curator Kim Paton, property consultant Alison Pharaoh, and lecturer in media design, Walter Langelaar.

Broker - Dunedin: Tamsin Cooper

Advisory Panel - Dunedin: Ali Bramwell, Cara Paterson, Caro McCaw, David Marsh, Josh Thomas, Kirsten Anne Glengarry, Noel Waite, Peter Christos, Rebecca Ford.

Associate: Gabrielle McKone

Management company Letting Space has since 2010 been running public art, urban revitalisation and media projects in public and temporary commercial spaces throughout New Zealand to critical and popular acclaim.

Letting Space and UDB are run under the auspices of the Wellington Independent Arts Trust. WIAT is a Charity, registration number CC52270. Further details can be found here www.charities.govt.nz

Managers: Mark Amery, Sophie Jerram and Helen Kirlew Smith are directors of Letting Space.

Sophie Jerram’s extensive work as a curator, artist and businesswoman has had a particular interest in issues surrounding sustainability and art’s examination of the relationship between business and the environment.

Mark Amery has extensive experience nationally as an arts manager, curator and writer and has worked as an arts advisor with public bodies and local authorities.

Helen Kirlew Smith Helen is a co-director of Letting Space and also works with Wellington Tedx. She is an experienced producer, event manager and facilitator with a passion for supporting the arts in communities and public space.  Helen worked as Company Manager for Blast Theory in the UK for eight years, an internationally renowned live arts company.

Broker, Dunedin: Tamsin Cooper Tamsin is an experienced businesswoman and fashion designer. She has worked as a community arts advisor, business advisor, marketing manager, TV presenter and public speaker. Tamsin has also brokered and managed several creative collaborations both nationally and internationally.


“Before we felt very isolated. By the end of six months we were all ready to commit to what we had created. We couldn't have predicted the deep effect being so open to the public has had on our work. We felt able to take a personal and professional risk and it really felt like we were breaking down the barrier to contemporary art practice.” – Sarah Read, Artist