An Auckland University of Technology project in partnership with The Southern Initiative (Auckland City Council), The Roots Creative Entrepreneurs, Meshed      Co-op and 412 Youth.

The Southern Initiative (TSI) is a local government entity in Auckland, New Zealand. TSI’s purpose is to mobilise strategic and transformational change in South Auckland, an area of high social and economic need. One of their strategies is to foster a range of ‘maker space’ initiatives, which use
creativity and technology to address a variety of community goals.

Auckland University of Technology students were tasked with the challenge of fostering confidence and creativity in South Auckland youth, and to build capacity through the use of a mobile maker-space framework. The students used a co-design methodology to engage with existing makerspace enthusiasts and community leaders. During a pop-up activation in one of the local communities, the students identified that there was not an absence of makerspace engagement opportunities, but that the activations did not appear to be meeting their full potential in terms of community uptake. Further co-design sessions with a stakeholder youth group provided the insight that a lack of trust between their community and ‘out-sider’ volunteer groups only served to reinforce existing social barriers. This insight shifted the project, and the new focus on a sense of community ownership resulted in the design of ‘UpSouth’, a of a community-led online platform for fostering
connectedness and engagement. An iteration of the UpSouth concept has been adopted by TSI and is currently live, providing opportunities for South Aucklanders to address local challenges, increase digital skills and raise financial capital through the sharing of innovative ideas.

Academic Supervisors: Lisa McEwan (AUT University); Gary Marshall (Resilio Studios).
AUT student designers: Madeline Racz, Jacqueline Carpenter, Annelise Du, Ethan Horne, Calum Haugh.