Living wall brings a touch of green to Christchurch

Department of Conservation —  29/06/2015

By Elizabeth Guthrey, DOC Intern, Christchurch

North Canterbury DOC staff have been working with Christchurch City Council and FabLab Christchurch to create an Urban Living Wall at the corner of Cashel Street and High Street in downtown Christchurch.

Visitors to the Urban Living Wall in downtown Christchurch.

Visitors to the Urban Living Wall in downtown Christchurch

We started the Urban Living Wall project to provide a way for the people of Christchurch to engage with nature and conservation where they live and work.

The wall provides a space for nature in the heart of the city—transforming a barren earthquake-damaged urban environment into a vibrant living place.

Student planting on the Urban Living Wall.

Student planting on the Urban Living Wall

We launched the first eight metres of the wall in May, and recently we were successful in raising money through PledgeMe to add more panels to the wall. Eventually it will cover the entire fence structure.

The wall is made from 3D-printed biodegradable planter panels made from ceramics, felted wool and wood. It provides a place for native plants and critters—bringing some of the beautiful and hardy rocky outcrop species to places where people live, work and socialise.

Panels on the Urban Living Wall.

Panels on the Urban Living Wall

The site of the Urban Living Wall is a tough place for living things—with high exposure to sun, rain, and winds streaming in from all directions. Rocky outcrop plants were perfectly suited, with their soil and roots housed in the sturdy but stylish planter panels.

Plants that thrive in the rocky conditions of Banks Peninsula were chosen for the site as they are most likely to survive the harsh conditions.

Shrubby haloragis.

Shrubby haloragis growing at a rocky outcrop on Banks Peninsula

To bring the project to life, we worked with Auckland University of Technology professor Steve Reay, who is a pioneer in alternative ways to build green walls.

FabLab Christchurch contributed their expertise, using technology like 3D printers.

This project is a unique opportunity for schools, communities, businesses and individuals to be involved in creating a new green space for the city.

3D printers are now available in some schools, so the project has been a valuable opportunity for teachers and students to develop their skills, while making objects for a real project.

Breens Intermediate students with planter panels they 3D printed.

Breens Intermediate students with planter panels they 3D printed

Create your own living wall

The 3D and CAD files of the plastic, wood and felt planters are available for anyone to download and use. This means all the design work included in this wall is made free for you to use.

More information is available on the Urban Living Wall website.

One response to Living wall brings a touch of green to Christchurch

  1. 

    Fantastic idea – love the creativity occurring in Christchurch. Helping put some colour amongst the grey.