Local Councils act during Covid through Town Planning
Whilst this sounds like a contradiction in terms, one of the benefits of covid is how it has thrust upon change on our urban fabric.
One of these changes includes the removal of vehicular traffic in the main parts of our local shopping strips to make way for outdoor dining, a substantial dose of fake grass and makeshift umbrellas and bicycle racks in order to encourage spending and the activation of our streets.
Some recent examples in the west have been in the Point Cook Town Centre, Pier Street Altona and Yarraville Village with all varying degrees of success. Whilst these centres have made temporary changes to the outdoor civic experience, it should be noted that the city of Brimbank has made some pretty audacious changes to its main drag in Hampshire Road, Sunshine which has totally transformed the spine to a pedestrian and eco friendly precinct.
In a nutshell, I think that the transformation of some of these spaces has resulted in encouraging more people to use our civic spaces which in turn activates our city centres and hopefully encourage social interaction.
However for these spaces to be really successful will require consultation with relevant stakeholders and investment from local and state government to ensure that the right urban design outcomes are achieved. These investments could be in the form of improved paving, lighting, shading devices, public art, etc whilst seeking to improve access for people with limited mobility.
Hopefully, local Council’s can see the benefit of prioritising elements of our streets for pedestrians in lieu of cars and people-friendly outcomes are achieved.