10 things I want for Canberra … Instalment number three

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 third instalment in this series.

3. Pride in our heritage

Our historic Sydney and Melbourne buildings are local treasures – part of the history of Canberra’s establishment as the national capital, and icons of Canberra’s historic architecture.

Once the grand gateway to our city, these buildings have seen entrepreneurs come and go, a city expand, and Canberra transition into a legitimate, forward-thinking capital.

Despite their Florentine qualities, these buildings are icons of Canberra’s built environment and are really the only example in Civic of our pre-war heritage.

As part of research undertaken by Kreab earlier this year for Canberra CBD Limited, we know that Canberrans want to maintain the authentic feel of our capital while building a truly world class, liveable city. That means renewing underutilised parts of Canberra such as the Melbourne and Sydney buildings.

A fresh lick of paint and some tile work will help, but more could and should be done to mark the significance of these buildings and bring them into the present.

Already we are seeing new bars like Highball Express emerge alongside Canberra institutions such as the Charcoal Grill.  There’s a lot to love and much opportunity to be had in these unique spaces, and we should make it easier and more affordable for businesses to come into this part of the city.

By including the Sydney and Melbourne buildings in the ‘Canberra movement’, we can ensure that Canberra’s renewal retains an authentically “Canberra” personality, while new generations of business take their turn in reshaping Canberra’s business environment and injecting new ideas into these important old spaces.

During a time of innovative small business growth in parts of our city and a renewed declaration of Canberra’s identity, renewing these valued spaces is critical to bringing people back into the heart of the city.


To read more in the series;

Instalment number one – Enlivening our walkways and laneways

Instalment number two – Place making and city connectivity

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