The Vibrant Laneways and Small Spaces program is one of the latest initiatives of the City Centre Master Plan, recently introduced by the Brisbane City Council.
The Council states “The program is designed to transform some of the cities forgotten spaces into vibrant meeting, retail and dining destinations,” however it is all too clear to some that what has been forgotten are those areas that stretch further than the city centre.
Justin Wells of Tonic Architecture + Design, and partner of B³ Brisbane Boutique Bars, feels Brisbane City Council too regularly neglects the inner city’s neighbouring suburbs and has stepped forward to challenge The Council and the Vibrant Laneways and Small Spaces initiative.
“It is clear the Lord Mayor has given some consideration about pushing for a rejuvenation of Laneways and the like in the CBD, but this extent is a purely token effort, let’s get serious here and embrace a collective of ideas and promote something cohesive. How long do we need to have Melbourne envy and Sydney for that matter…?”
Mr Wells wishes to challenge Council to look at the Laneways and Public Art initiative and create a cohesive strategy of integrating both measures into the Fortitude Valley Neighbourhood Plan. “Laneways such as Hynes St in Fortitude Valley, are crying out for a fresh and creative reinvention and could offer a real melting pot of creative disciplines the ability to add to rear of the Leighton’s HQ development” Mr Wells added.
Hynes St would be a great test case for a Fortitude Valley’s Vibrant Laneways push and quite timely with the Leighton’s HQ development nearing completion.
With a bevy of creative and wide spread initiatives being taken up in other parts of Australia, Mr Wells would like to challenge Council to firstly identify the areas of the Valley worthy of revamping and provide Expressions of Interest to the public to compete for creative resolutions of these spaces.
I see the future direction of the Valley lanes could be iconic if given the real opportunity for uniqueness. My suggestion would be as follows.
Firstly council should map out the lanes, streets and/or roads within the Fortitude Valley area, which people and businesses could truly benefit from by having a unique and intrinsically visual and creative domain.
Secondly, council should tender for a panel of adjudicators which would assess future design submissions of these lanes, streets and roads.
Thirdly, Council, by next July should find a budget which will allow the Vibrant Laneways scheme to extent to the Valley area which is currently in existent within the CBD.
Finally, Council should provide Expressions of Interest submissions that all members of the public and design community could tender their designs for the ‘real’ Vibrant Lanes. I would expect the panel of adjudicators would then select a winning scheme and this could be implemented in the public realm.
The key to this type of process is the whole public would become empowered to add positively to their space and environment which they frequent daily. Additionally, the criteria for such submissions should integrate public art of all mediums, spaces and facilities which benefit the community as a whole.
At the moment this is not the currently process as the public art and Laneways initiative are mutually exclusive. “It could be reasonably envisaged that Brisbane would then be in a position to promote its creative grain within a built environment and an envy of the other states” Mr Wells added.
“I see shapes, light and tactile elements which could suspend between buildings which would help to define creative precincts”
“People influencing spaces for people…… now that is the Valley I want to be a part of” Mr Wells said.
Read about this in Brisbane Times