Despite outdated planning legislation that continues to stymie council innovation, six Australian councils have managed to create innovative – and sometimes radical – place design change for their local communities.
Coffs Harbour City Council, for example, shaved $5 million off its parking requirements by lobbying state government about parking standards and creating a citywide green travel plan. That $5 million was then reinvested into tourism and cultural programs.
Gold Coast Council turned a vacant “unsalable” lot into a new artistic hub for the region’s burgeoning media and arts scene – and is now using it as a draw card for Chinese investors.
And Waverley Council is testing ideas for turning the streets of Bondi Junction from a car-based traffic jam into a pedestrian-friendly shopping mecca – through simple and inexpensive tactile interventions.
“Urban renewal is one of the key evolving opportunities for Australian councils today,” says Mike Day, RobertsDay cofounder. “And great places are about so much more than buildings.”
However, it doesn’t always need a big investment. “Often, councils already have all they need for a renewal project – it’s just about seeing their place in a different light,” says Day.
“We worked with one suburb that only had one children’s playground – and it belonged to McDonald’s,” says Day. “Yet the town had all this underused space. So our urban planning solution was to transform vacant sites into playgrounds, have car parks double as civic spaces, redeploy road reserves as skate parks.”
The story of the town with only a McDonald’s playground, as well as the development that was once a bus depot and the suburb that was once a sports stadium – along with other stories of urban renewal innovation – are all covered in http://robertsday.com.au/great-places-renew-magazine
Great Places Renew is one of a series of rich-media, digital magazines that uses words, images and video to tell the stories of great places around the country.
Access the free http://robertsday.com.au/great-places-renew-magazine.
RobertsDay is a town planning and urban design firm with 20 years global experience. With branches in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne, it works with councils, developers, designers and builders to create great places. Using the RobertsDay Great Places process, it also helps councils and local authorities reassemble their vision for a place, develop their internal skills and reframe their regulatory environment to get better place outcomes.
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