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understorey: A pop-up green community space opens in central ChCh

Monday, September 13, 2021   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: Community Groups, collaboration

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. The space is now welcoming visitors safely at COVID-19 Alert Level 2.

The stunning Arts Centre Gym has been temporarily 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 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) and 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. The Green Lab sees their role as tending to and collaborating with the community understorey in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

The Green Lab will be hosting events, conversations, and opportunities in understorey with community groups, innovators and organisations sharing what they love to do. You are welcomed to connect with The Green Lab as they co-create this new way of coming together in the central city. You can host events and meetings safely in the space at Alert Level 2.

Keep an eye on The Green Lab’s social media pages (@thegreenlabnz on Facebook and Instagram) for more details of the packed programme of events.

Contact Programme Director Khye Hitchcock for more information or to book a time to connect at understorey (021 0244 4118 or khye[at]

understorey is a pilot project. The Green Lab’s dream is to find a permanent home supported by a sustainable business model. The pilot is supported by the COVID Lotteries Response, Christchurch City Council, and The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora. Over fifteen local organisations have contributed to support its creation and programming.