UDB pilot for Porirua

Current work by Michel Tuffery in Cobham Place, Porirua

Current work by Michel Tuffery in Cobham Place, Porirua

With the support of the Porirua Chamber of Commerce Letting Space are piloting an Urban Dream Brokerage programme in Porirua for the second half of 2015. Ideas for innovative creative and community projects are being sought for vacant retail premises in the Porirua city centre - initial proposals are due by Monday 20 July. 

As part of the programme in vacant spaces a multipurpose pop-up space is also planned. Called Open Plan it is for the use by the community for events and gatherings that don’t exist in the city centre currently.

Celebrating its 50th year, Porirua is diverse and has the youngest population in the country but the oldest part of its city centre has struggled in the shadow of the building of a shopping centre, Megacentre and new public facilities like Pataka, and Te Rauparaha arena and park. At the same time this centre with a remarkable range of cultures and small businesses provides space for needed community initiatives and commons areas - to draw together the energy of a city of many villages. Meanwhile Porirua City Council are encouraging inner city living.

“This project is part of a new chapter in the story of our city centre development,” says Porirua Chamber of Commerce CEO Tracy Johnson. “It’s about experimenting with what works to assist everyone, so everyone can see positive change. We want to see empty space used creatively to attract communities into the CBD, and from that attract business. This will also bring new interest to existing businesses.”

Proposals for Urban Dream Brokerage Porirua need to be different to existing services in the city centre - fresh, dynamic, and accessible to Porirua’s diverse communities and identity. Ideas are welcome from outside of Porirua City but it’s vital they involve strong local collaboration. Projects may look to activate a space temporarily (for a matter of days, weeks or months) or look to negotiate for longer term. 

One of these planned spaces is Open Plan, a multipurpose pop-up space created for the use by the community, free of charge, for events, discussions, gatherings, exhibits, workshops, rehearsals, meetings, classes, exchanges, and services - in fact Letting Space want you to add to the list, helping shape the city with what you’re passionate about. “This is about making connections and exchanging ideas, with the people of Porirua helping shape the future of the city,” says Amery.

The Porirua Chamber of Commerce is a business network designed to create, promote and seek opportunities for Porirua businesses to be their best.

Letting Space are also developing a major public art event for the end of this year in Porirua which will bring together artists, both local and visiting with local community groups to explore through innovative art projects new ways of working together across the city’s diversity. More details on this are to be released soon.