Uptown Futures Festival

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Project Details

Uptown Business Association
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Uptown, Auckland
AUT, Unitec, University of Auckland

A festival that brought together communities to imagine the future of their neighbourhood.

Uptown is undergoing rapid change. TUA and the Uptown Business Association had worked together to establish a vision, but now needed to showcase it in a way more people could experience. 

We brought on board the architecture schools at AUT, Unitec, and the University of Auckland to develop courses and programmes for their students based in Uptown. Together, we shared the history and current context of the Uptown neighbourhood, and what this could mean for designing its future. The stunning student work was showcased at a public, week-long festival with other events that encouraged Aucklanders to boldly imagine what the future of this area could be, and reinforce the Uptown Community Vision to the city’s decision makers.

Over 550 students worked on a variety of projects based on addressing some of the challenges in Uptown or enhancing the existing character. This gave a real-life example of a regeneration project to the students and built awareness of the constraints of this area. We planned the Futures Festival alongside the Business Association, helping with theming, locations, and content. An influencers panel spoke to hundreds of people on the opening night of the Festival, while hundreds more walked through the three gallery spaces over the following week. The Festival was successful in showcasing how a community vision can be reflected in design responses, and the value in having young people, business associations, and residents contributing to conversations about the built environment.