Type of project: Community, events, co-working, and collaboration space
Collaborator: Janeth Gil Photography
Sponsors/Funders: COVID Lotteries Response, Christchurch City Council, The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora

Location: The Gym at The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora, Christchurch
Completed:  September 2021
Status: Decommissioned in October 2021

A new type of space has been created in the heart of Ōtautahi Christchurch. understorey is a bold new project from The Green Lab: a free to access, community, events, co-working, and collaboration space. After a  delay due to COVID, the space is now welcoming visitors  safely at Alert Level 2. 

The stunning Arts Centre Gym has been transformed into a social space where people can come together and just be in the central city, without having to purchase anything. In this first iteration of the project, Cantabrians will be invited to connect with change organisations, community groups, innovators, entrepreneurs, and creatives alike.

“The past couple of years have wrought big changes to the ways we work and connect with each other. This project brings a range of people together,  tests ways of sharing space, and hopes to support a flourishing, wellbeing-focused economy”, says Programme Director of The Green Lab, Khye Hitchcock. The multi-function space has been fitted out with creative furniture that supports connection and collaboration,  and of course, plenty of plants delivering all the wellbeing benefits that come from being surrounded by them

“Plants thrive in a complex world by communicating, sharing resources and transforming their environments” (Montgomery, 2021); humans are much the same. In a healthy forest  ecosystem, the understory is the layer between the ground and the canopy. Home to rich biodiversity which nurtures new generations of saplings, the understory makes important contributions to the stability of the ecosystem. At The Green Lab, we see our role as tending to and collaborating with the community understorey in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

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