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Transforming Spaces: A Successful Space Audit with Christchurch City Council

In July 2023, our team of young people facilitated a successful audit that exemplified the power of ReVision to breathe new life into environments and create vibrant, functional spaces. Today, we're excited to share the story of a highly successful space audit we conducted in Christchurch’s soon to be developed Multicultural Centre (formerly Netball Centre), a project that showcased the remarkable impact of our work.

The Challenge

Our team was presented with the opportunity to conduct a space audit for an upcoming development of the Multicultural Recreation and Community Centre aka the Multicultural Centre, formerly the site of the Christchurch Netball Centre in Hagley Park (Canterbury Netball will remain there until Ngā Puna Wai is complete across the road). The challenges were apparent: outdated design, transitional use of space from sports to multi-use, and an environment that previously lacked inspiration. It was clear that the Multicultural Centre needed a revitalisation to better serve its purpose and the community it served.

The Approach

With a dedicated Team Leader (Andre Moneda) and a diverse group of 16 volunteer auditors alongside the site’s project managers, we approached the Multicultural Centre’s audit with a clear vision in mind. Our primary goals were to:

  • Understand Functionality: We aimed to understand the space functionality as it changed from sports-focussed to multi-use. To ensure that every square foot served a purpose, promoting efficiency and usability for young people was key to the evaluation.

  • Evaluate Aesthetics: The space needed a visual transformation, with a focus on creating an inviting and visually appealing atmosphere. We questioned all aspects of the visual appeal to ensure it was welcoming for young people ages 12-24.

  • Access Accessibility: We sought to ensure that the space was accessible to all, regardless of physical abilities, creating an inclusive environment. The layout as well as the transport options were considered.

  • Promote Sustainability: Sustainability was a core principle in our design principles, with an emphasis on eco-friendly materials and practices.

The Process

Over the course of our visit, our team worked to engage with the space and see things through fresh eyes. Reimagining new space with a specific set purpose is quite challenging but our team of young people rose to the challenge. From transport options to location and atmosphere, every corner of the Multicultural Centre was covered and considered.

The Multicultural Centre was specifically audited against a set of Youth Relevant Design Principles. The audit session was held on Sunday 30th of July 2023 from 1:30pm at the second floor meeting space. To begin, ReVision staff took the young people through the audit process and gave them an overview of the space. Council staff from the Christchurch City Council then gave the auditors an overview of the facility and what they intended to do with the feedback from the audit.

The audit was completed by 16 diverse auditors ranging in age from 13 to 23. These volunteer auditors were carefully selected based on their background and interest in the space so that a broad range of views would be captured. Amongst the auditors were young people from all around Christchurch with a range of ethnic backgrounds and communities including Māori, Pākeha, Filipino Malaysian, Iranian, Kurdish/Turkish, Indian, Muslim, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Scottish, and American.

Community Impact

The impact of the space audit will surely be felt throughout the local community. Having a Multicultural Centre is important for a lot of people, not just young people. It will quickly become a hub for various activities, from educational programs to community gatherings. People of all ages and backgrounds need to know they are welcomed to the space and that it meets their needs. Christchurch City Council is excited about the outcome of the audit and intends to continue to engage with our youth auditors in further development of the site as well as possible involvement in a formal Advisory Group that guides the Trust in the redevelopment.

One of the most striking aspects of the process was the need for a visual impact in wayfinding. The once-dull and uninspiring space would soon radiate with vitality, featuring vibrant colours, dynamic lighting, and creative design elements that will capture the essence of the community. A large space with a great location will be difficult to retrofit but it appears Council is up for the task. Improving accessibility by bus or bike was key for the auditors as well as improving the layout of the interior (and appearance). Natural light and adding colour will make a huge difference.

A Bright Future

The success of the Multicultural Centre space audit in 2023 is a testament to the power of thoughtful design and diverse engagement by young people. We hope it demonstrates our commitment to transforming spaces into environments that inspire, engage, and uplift communities for years to come.

As we look ahead, we are excited about the possibilities that lie before us at ReVision. Our team remains dedicated to creating spaces that not only meet the needs of today but also anticipate the needs of tomorrow. Stay tuned for more inspiring projects and stories of transformation as we continue our journey of auditing vibrant, functional, and inclusive spaces.


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