10 things I want for Canberra … Instalment number one

As of 1 January 2018, the management of the City Centre Marketing and Improvements Levy transferred from In The City Canberra to the City Renewal Authority. Views expressed in these articles may not reflect the views of the Authority.

In the lead up to Christmas Canberra CBD is looking at its wish list to revive the City Centre …  

This is the first instalment in this series

1. Enlivening our walkways and laneways

According to research undertaken for Canberra CBD earlier this year, and as we know ourselves, Canberrans are very proud of our city. From our heritage Sydney and Melbourne buildings to the bush capital feel, there’s a lot to love.

We also know Canberrans are yearning to see old spaces come alive, and see hip and trendy success stories like Braddon and New Acton flow on into Civic.

Enlivening our walkways and laneways is a simple, practical and effective next step in activating unused and underutilised spaces and reviving creativity and business in Civic.

Braddon’s Lonsdale Street shows us how underused walkways and laneways can be filled with people, new business models, unexpected bars, cafes and creative ventures.

Like Melbourne, a city renowned for its laneways, cafes and dining, Braddon, has focused on connecting people to places. Its laneways connect, rather than separate buildings and create places for people and activities rather than being derelict, dirty and uninviting.

We are starting to see change. Some of Civic’s laneways and walkways have given us a taste of what can happen when business, artists and the community come together. Events like the Tocumwal Lane Street Party earlier this year transformed the former delivery and garbage zone into a place of curiosity and creative flair, with the help of local graffiti artists and efforts from surrounding businesses.

Clean, safe, activated laneways encourage public use and present opportunity for city goers and residents of the CBD to engage with the surrounding buildings and most importantly engage as a community. Cities are for people, after all.

Activating spaces and collaborating with artists and businesses will encourage public use of our laneways for trade and for entertainment. Festivals, art installations, markets, food, drink and music – the possibilities are practically limitless.

Our research showed us that Canberrans are enthusiastic about converting laneways and other dead spaces into community places. Think back alley coffee havens like The Loading Zone. Maybe we could even have our own “Little Italy” or a “Mini New Orleans” with outdoor parties in these areas.

It’s no secret that Canberra is a place for innovative collaborations and is a cultural, artistic and intellectual centre. Harnessing that drive and creativity, and injecting it into Civic’s walkways and laneways will be like injecting life back into the veins of the city – and may just help kick-start Canberra’s heart.


To read more in the series;

Instalment number two – Place making and city connectivity

Instalment number three – Pride in our heritage

Instalment number four – Brining local business back to the heart

Instalment number five – Bush capital authenticity

Instalment number six – Bringing Floriade to the city

Instalment number seven – Artistic license

Instalment number eight – Innovation and hot-desks

Instalment number nine – A connected city