Endorsed at tonight’s Council meeting, the program will run for six months from October 2011 and will aim to deliver projects quickly, economically and in collaboration with businesses, property owners and other community partners.
“We need to give this a go – by initiating pilot projects we will be able to learn about what works and what doesn’t,” Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood said.
“By trialling an idea or a new approach for a short-period of time, we will be able to test the waters, evaluate outcomes and survey public opinion before investing significant resources.”
Ideas submitted by the community as part of Council’s Picture Adelaide consultation will be used as a starting point and Council has set aside funding to help projects get off the ground.
Discussions with some stakeholders are already underway and the first-round of projects may include activities such as art fairs, community gardens, temporary food vendors in the Park Lands, more public art installations and free performances in Victoria Square including busker concerts on Friday nights and classical recitals by the State Opera Company of South Australia.
“It would be great to see these kinds of activities appearing all over the city,” Councillor Megan Hender said.
“It’s a logical mechanism to experiment and learn and a sign of Council’s commitment to reducing red-tape.”
Businesses and community groups will be able to submit their own proposals via Council’s website. Approvals will be given to business proposals that can be safely implemented by the owners and in some cases Council will fund activation projects that have a strong level of community support.
Projects will need to bring vibrancy and activity to the city as well as being flexible, safe, simple to install and, if necessary, easy to reverse.
Council staff will continue to identify potential locations, in consultation with businesses and stakeholders, and a specific focus will be on areas that currently experience or are capable of generating high levels of pedestrian traffic.
“Pedestrian-friendly spaces attract more street life and in-turn, bring in more customers,” Stephen said.
“This will really benefit small business and priority will be given to projects that have the strongest level of commitment from surrounding traders and property owners.”
The model is based on a similar approach by New Your City Council where a number of projects focused on transforming public areas have been implemented as a trial. The most prominent example has been the closure of parts of iconic Broadway to traffic in favour for outdoor dining areas, wider footpaths and dedicated cycling lanes.
“If it’s good enough for the great cities of the world, surely Adelaide is ready for change in a street near you!”
“We won’t know until we give it a go – if something doesn’t work, we can move on and try something else.”