10 things I want for Canberra … Instalment number two

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 second instalment in this series.

2. Place-making and city connectivity

The existing fabric of our city centre has great potential. The success of our city will be based upon the way Canberrans engage with each other – in business, trade, creatively and socially. Public areas including Garema Place and prominent walkways and links like City Walk could and should be activated, well-utilised and regenerated public spaces for Canberrans and the great many visitors our city hosts.

It may not surprise you that research undertaken for Canberra CBD Limited earlier this year revealed that many Canberrans feel Garema Place could do with a facelift.

Known mainly as a meeting point for protests or annual festivals, the desire for ‘something special’ in Garema Place all year round was a recurring theme in our research.

Italians see their piazzas as significant spaces, used daily as a space where people come to meet, relax, attend pop-up market stalls and come together as a community.

In fact, Garema place is not dissimilar to an Italian piazza – a large, open public square, surrounded by shops, cafes and restaurants.

Picture cafes and stores opening out into public spaces, renewed foliage and seating options, vibrant colours and temporary instalments by Canberra creatives.

Northbridge in Perth is a great example of a successful Australian square. Its big screen which plays short films and art projects by local artist and students, and various casual, inviting seating options surrounding the perimeter provide a point of interest, something and somewhere to stop and consider, and user-friendly space to meet for lunch and pass the time.

Taking a leaf out of Perth’s book, free beanbag and movie nights, ad-hoc local music festivals and more pop-up markets could add brilliant vibrancy, and that ‘something special’ to Garema Place that Canberrans are after.

Garema Place should be known as the heart of our city, with logical north/south links and pathways, inspired and exciting public spaces that people want to come to and enjoy.

Presenting Garema Place as a central point and linking the city’s walkways would provide a positive visitor and user experience for our city and the people who come to visit, and those who come to stay.


To read more in the series;

Instalment number one – Enlivening our walkways and laneways

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