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Second week of “WHAT IF WHAKATŪ NELSON …?” Make/Shift Space- 263 Hardy Street, Nelson

What is your vision for Whakatū Nelson? What would you like to see the city look, feel or sound like in 10 or 20 years time? What are some of the roadblocks to creating change in Nelson, and how can we remove them?

An ideas hub opening in central Nelson wants to collect ideas, start conversations and motivate positive change on how to help make Nelson a vibrant and liveable city for everyone.

“What if Whakatū Nelson …?” is a Make/Shift Space initiative and is supported by Nelsonians who are tired of talking about Nelson’s challenges and want to help generate change.

“What if Whakatū Nelson …?” ideas can be big or small – from What if Whakatū Nelson created a youth hub? What if we had a spring-cleaning campaign for the city and everyone participated? to What if we had a Margaret Mahy style playground?

The space also aims to be a place to share knowledge and ideas. It will host design concepts, artwork, ideas and interactive exhibits for the public to have their say.

The Make/Shift Space at 263 Hardy Street will host a series of lunchtime talks, panel discussions and workshops, with speakers and participants who have interesting ideas and visions for Nelson. These sessions are for the general public and are intended to create a movement to help these ideas flourish and become reality.

Speakers will be drawn from across the community including architects, landscape architects, artists, the business sector, retailers, developers, migrant communities, iwi organisations, with opportunities for others to get involved.

“What if Whakatū Nelson …?” will be open Monday to Friday from 12-2pm, and on Saturday from 10am to 1pm.

Architect William Samuels says we are at a point in our history where we have the opportunity to bring truly positive transformation to Nelson, but to get there we need to have a shared vision and aspiration for what our city can become.

The “What if Whakatū Nelson…?” space is intended to provide our community with a platform to engage with these ideas, add their own thoughts and be a part of the discussion about how to make Nelson great.

“Starting with the built environment, we need to explore the question of what our city will look like in 10, 20 or even 50 years’ time. How will we live, work, and relax in Nelson, and how can the design of our city facilitate this?

“What could well designed housing within the CBD look like, how can we create public areas that are enjoyable to occupy and allow people to linger and better engage with our retail and hospitality sectors? What if we provided spaces that properly catered for families, youth, elderly, tourists, students? These are all big questions that we need to discuss if we want to create a collective vision for Nelson and to enable real, tangible progress for our city.”

The space will run for six weeks but may run for longer. Make/Shift Spaces is moving its office to the space for the five weeks.

Make/Shift Spaces’ Anne Rush says cities are dynamic places that change in waves and cycles. They are built by thousands of actions from hundreds of individuals and their collaborations.

“Many Nelsonians are concerned about the state of our city centre at present. Maybe we need to look each other in the eye and say to ourselves; ‘What are we doing about it as a community’?’ We all have a part to play however small.”

“The Make/Shift Space ‘What if Whakatū Nelson …?” is our chance to start these conversations and try and identify what actions our city requires to regain a unique vibrancy into the future?”


Make/Shift Spaces works with a range of artists, creatives, property owners, community and special interest groups to fill empty spaces in Nelson with vibrant installations and activity. It uses some of the spaces to tell stories about Nelson’s community with window displays and images. The duration of each installation varies.

The space is supported by Nelsonians from a range of sectors including the arts, business, communications, real estate, IT and development. A lot of people are talking about the challenges Nelson faces and the intent is this space will help the public participate in those conversations.

Playpen – an interactive place making game – will be set up for engagement and will evolve over the duration of the Make/Shift Space.

Playpen is an explorative placemaking game that playfully seeks to engage community in creating solutions to adapting Whakatū / Nelson’s urban environment to future impacts including climate change.

The first week’s speakers include architects, landscape architects, urban designers and a business development manager. Talks start at 12.30pm.

On Monday November 13 William Samuels, architect and NZIA chair and Luke Porter Landscape Architect and NZILA branch chair will talk about “What does a vibrant Whakatū Nelson city centre look like in 2035.

On Tuesday November 14 Alan Gray Landscape Architect will talk about the Bridge to Better project.

On Wednesday November 15 Chloe Howorth Habitat for Humanity’s Business Development Manager will talk about Community Development Through Affordable Housing.

On Thursday November 16 Magdalena Garbarczyk, Architect & director of Fineline Architecture and Timo Neubauer Urban Designer & local business owner will talk about urban regeneration in Nelson.

A line up of other speakers from Nelson Whakatū’s social, cultural, arts and economic and environmental sectors are being finalised for the following five weeks.

Click here to find out more…

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