Every three years, New Zealand councils redesign their long-term budgets. Residents can have a say on what councils propose and their feedback is both welcome and valuable. They wanted a fast and effective way to provoke a more diverse array of submissions on the Council’s Long-term Plan and increase engagement with younger generations.
Our goal was to make Our 10-Year Plan relevant to people who wouldn’t normally engage. Working with the wider project team we initiated a co-design process and identified that the voice of the Wellingtonian resident was missing from the awareness-raising collateral that had already been produced.
Although Our 10-Year Plan was constructed on public feedback and ideas, this wasn’t apparent. We aimed to amplify these voices, thereby encouraging Wellingtonians to also have their say. We decided to draw attention to the voices that had informed the plan and give residents the opportunity to add their own thoughts to the mix. By doing this in prominent public spaces we could encourage people to take photographs, share them on social media and start a conversation about the kind of city they want Wellington to be.
We used the city as a canvas, projecting grand-scale quotes from everyday Wellingtonians onto landmark buildings, including the Railway Station, Westpac Stadium, Town Hall and Te Papa. We ran the projections a few evenings every week for a month during events with a lot of foot traffic. To capture the attention of people enjoying Courtney Place on a Friday night, we lit up Embassy Theatre’s upper façade with: “E ngākaunui ana au mō te āpōpō o tēnei tāone nui, he aha tāu? I care about our city’s future. Do you? #wgtnplan”.
By including a hashtag with each quote and having staff on hand to talk to curious passers-by, we helped generate both immediate engagements on social media and actual submissions on the plan.
Over a 3-week period, about 10 sites were projected onto. While it’s hard to quantify success for a creative project that’s part of a wider awareness-raising program, it was arguably a triumph: there were more than 2000 public submissions on Our 10-Year Plan – more than double the number for the Long-term Plan 2015–25.
Most interestingly, while 19 to 30-year-olds make up only 19 percent of the population, they accounted for 24 percent of the submissions. In fact, half the overall submissions made were from people under 40.
Nick Kapica (creative director), Johannes Bay (designer)
Illumination and Optics Morgan Whitfield (projection)