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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.