Activation is a word that you hear a lot these days in relation to bringing a location alive through events, activities and reasons to visit. It’s all about creating a place that is vibrant, has a strong sense of community and is valued by the people who make use of that space.
But creating attractive precincts is not just about providing a pleasant place to spend a day or a few hours, it’s also about ‘growing the pie’. By that I mean helping bring more and more people into a particular location so that existing and new enterprises can take advantage of the greater numbers of potential customers. This idea is called place-making.
The key to this concept is that it’s not enough to have just one great place in a neighbourhood—you need a number of them to create a truly lively and interesting location.
Place activation is an important part of building great places. Council’s Precinct-Place Strategy, adopted in 2014, seeks to make place activation an integral part of the revitalisation of key localities throughout the local government area.
A key part of the concept is that a great place needs to have a number – which is often recommended to be at least 10 – of things to do in it or reasons to be there.
It’s about offering a variety of things to do in one spot—so that the space becomes more than the sum of its parts. This is called ‘the Power of 10’ and is a core place-making concept.
These places should also define people’s experience of a city, and be dynamic enough to attract a range of user groups, keep people coming back and continue evolving.
The ultimate aim is to build up the number of experiences in proximity to one another, so as to create a series of destinations where tourists and residents alike can become immersed in a locality, roaming on foot and – most importantly – spending money as they go.
These 10 things could include, for instance, places to sit, art to touch, music to hear, food to purchase and historic information to learn about.
Does that description seem familiar? It’s almost an exact description of the Jetty4Shores Project, which is probably our best example of how place-making is creating a vibrant and lively place that attracts people of all interests and backgrounds to spend time in that location and make the most of all that it has to offer.
By developing these welcoming and dynamic spaces, we can help support and grow the whole area to the advantage of residents, visitors and business-owners.