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2015 Park(ing) Day

Park(ing) Day started in 2005 when Rebar, a San-Francisco art and design studio turned a single metered parking space into a temporary public park. In a city where public space is often at a premium, this highlighted the opportunity to create more – and consider uses other than parking.

 

Park(ing) Day is now celebrated around the world with people “feeding the meter” and then setting up innovative seating options, gardens, performances and activities such as mini golf, chess sets, yoga classes, blow up pools and animal farms – even a wedding ceremony has been held in a parking bay! These are then packed down, cleaned up and moved on, having provided a more fulfilling community experience than a standard car park ever could.

 

2015’s Park(ing) Day is tomorrow (Friday 18 September) and a number of local initiatives in Perth are showcasing creative talents.  Some of the places to check out are:

  • Fremantle - the City of Fremantle and Ecoscape are showing what is possible, with local businesses, artists and activists take over bays across the City. There will be a parking space with teach-in sessions where you can learn about street art, gardening, kite making and brewing beer. Another space will be trying to reclaim the record for the world’s longest skate rail from the car in the southern hemisphere and the local library is occupying a bay with an outdoor reading room. There will also be numerous spots offering places to relax, performances, food and drinks.
  • Curtin University – the innovators at Curtin are using Park(ing) Day to launch a new vehicle access management plan trial by providing information on the trial, places to sit, musical performances, refreshments and live art in bays around campus.

We can’t wait to see the different ways that people will approach Park(ing) Day and the impact it will make in terms of beautifying streets and engaging with local communities and visitors – not to mention the many other cost saving and environmental benefits.

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The retail experience

Perth has been hit with many new retail stores over the last few years with big name brands opening in Western Australia including Zara, Top Shop, Pottery Barn and West Elm, just to name a few. Is it the big names that lure us into shopping centres or do centres need to offer people more to get them through the doors?

These days omnichannel retailing allows you to buy a new couch while sitting on your old one, get your bananas delivered to your door when you feel like a smoothie and buy a new pair of shoes on your phone because you just spotted them on someone in the street. But if it is more convenient for people to order their summer bathing suit in the comfort of their own home then retailers need to provide something more, they need to provide a great shopping experience. And that is the key to successful Bricks and Mortar retailing into the future.  

Creating a successful retail experience involves creating a space that allows people to meet, share, experience and celebrate. This sense of community can be achieved by providing easy access, comfort, safety and amenities. A creative and exciting space that leverages its areas through effective uses and activities will ensure the space and the experience is memorable and encourages people to make a return visit. A few implementation examples are live public art murals, pop-up performances, creative furniture, lighting and landscaping and active areas such as exercise classes and children’s play spaces.

Our work with Stockland at their Baldivis Shopping Centre has worked towards achieving this through two public art murals. These helped transition the space from a shopping centre of convenience to a local destination. The project engaged with the local community by having local schools learn and work with professional artists on the development and installation of the murals. This quick-win project was able to raise the profile of the centre in the minds of local people and give them a sense of ownership and investment over the centre.

We’re sure there will be a queue outside H&M in Joondalup tomorrow morning, purely to see the brand open its first store in the state, but the experience will be the thing that ultimately makes people come back week after week. 

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Crowdfunding – what’s in it for me?

Think about all the great ideas that have been discussed around the dining room table that nobody has heard of, let alone benefited from. Lack of funding is the main reason why these ideas stay being just that, an idea. Crowdfunding breaks down this barrier and gives the public an opportunity to fund other people’s great ideas.

And what better way to test interest in the market, than if people are willing to put their hand in their pocket.

Let’s not get over excited though, people are not going to giveaway buckets of money without anything in return which begs the question, what makes a successful crowdfunded project? The key is understanding what your market wants in return, previously a business would be happy with recognition of their good deed and many people would contribute in return for a freebie once the company starts up. But with so many crowdfunded projects popping up some thought needs to be put into how to entice people to invest in your project. A new crowdfunding platform in the US, Local Lift focusses on crowdfunding for local, main street businesses. They have recognised that there is no point encouraging the wider community to donate to local businesses. Why? Because your local coffee shop can’t ship a free cuppa to someone who donates on the other side of the country and why would this person be interested in a coffee shop opening that they are never going to visit? Local businesses need to target the local community. The cherry on top is creating a store based reward that ensures the investor visits the business once it is open e.g. half price coffee every time you bring a friend into the café!

But what if investors want more than a pat on the back or a free cup of coffee? In more mature markets companies are now offering investors monetary return on their contribution. Recently Mirvac has announced that they’re teaming up with online platform VentureCrowd to provide property investors a new avenue to finance developments. Real estate investors have dabbled in crowdfunding before but Mirvac’s collaboration with VentureCrowd combines crowdfunding expertise with property expertise to revolutionise the real estate market going forward. It allows investors to say goodbye to the banks and hello to a new world of creating wealth through property investments. In the beginning Mirvac and VentureCrowd are only providing this platform to wholesale investors but they have hopes to remove the monopoly that banks have on lending and provide a platform to help regular home buyers in the future.

Perth has also seen the benefits of crowdfunding. Spacecubed started the crowdfunding revolution in Perth with the shared office space attracting donations to open a space where desks are rented out to people who are happy to work alongside fellow entrepreneurs. Lucky Chan’s Laundry + Noodlebar is Perth’s first crowdfunded bar, bringing crowdfunding into the hospitality realm and featuring three levels including an open air roof-top bar where you will find the Great Wall of Chan that houses the names of all the people who contributed to the project. It has even spread into the local community, the North Perth Primary School P&C crowdfunded to install an explorer dome on the schools oval that students can use during the week and the community can use after school and on the weekends.

It seems that the opportunities are endless with office spaces, bars, playgrounds and even developments being crowdfunded. We can’t wait to see what the next crowdfunded project brings! 

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Business News Feature Article

In this week’s Business News we’re featured on the front page (!) and also in a great feature article by Dan Wilkie on the rise of precincts, destinations and place making in Perth.

Along with one of Perth’s original and flagship destinations, Brookfield Place, Dan’s special feature also highlights other emerging precincts across the city including the recent re-launch of 140 William Street as well as the up coming 480 Hay Street and the State Buildings – which, together, will be a force to be reckoned with in revitalising the city’s eastern precinct.

In the article, our Director Lisa Montgomery spoke about how developers are taking a holistic approach to projects with a step-change in thinking from the traditional ‘I’m building a building’ to the new ‘I’m creating a destination’.

Combined, the number of great places and precincts springing up all over Perth has redefined how people experience the city and the encounters that they can have – what is happening on the ground outside office buildings is now just as important as the facilities and services within.

The full article is below or you can subscribe at the Business News website.

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