We've jiggled around the site a bit.
What started as a blog, turned into a business, so all the Blog Categories have been moved from the top row to the side ☞.
All the critical pages are on the top row now☝.
We've changed our text to grey (7d7d7d), the headings of each article into Josephin Sans font, and the main body to Open Sans.
We have also added our current by-line, 'We Fix Mainstreets'. And, in the A Beautiful City habit of having an argument with ourselves we've written a comprehensive About Us section.
Get a bit of it down here☟
A Beautiful City is a Proprietary Limited company located in Perth, Australia.
Australia is a country in the world.
We are interested in Mainstreets, which you may also know as 'city centres', high streets, 'strip-shopping areas', downtowns and 'urban villages'.
We are interested in these areas because they represent the sustainable future of human development.
They are already there; they have served us well for thousands of years; and when they're not there, we're building them new because that's what people expect in modern urban development.
So they should.
Place Managers are the entities which essentially manage these places and are responsible for the outcomes. Largely, they're stuffing them up.
The thing that makes mainstreets sustainable, interesting and vibrant is independent retail and place management.
* * *
Our mainstreets are managed by local governments, with responsibility occasionally ceded to a business association. In some rare cases private landlords own whole mainstreets.
When your lover, your neighbour or your friend talks to you about their wonderful holidays you usually hear about the vibrant and interesting retail streets they spent their time walking in, and then 'Why can't we have that type of thing here?'.
They are interesting and vibrant because of independent retail and place management.
Chain stores and filthy streets rampant with psychopaths are not the places your lover will recommend.
And such places would not be sustainable for the innocents who live there, either.
We have learnt this through our passion for these places. And we have lots of experience in the private and public sectors to work out how the whole shebang works.
The thing that mainstreets need, and that everyone is missing, is the attraction of interesting and sexy businesses.
That means independent retail.
* * *
Don't think that if you secure big businesses, like Apple or Gucci, that all the little, interesting businesses will follow. They won't.
It's the other way round.
If you have streets full of interesting small businesses then the big businesses will find you - because of your interesting and vibrant streets which exude independence and creativity.
After all, chain stores have staff who travel to look at potential new-store locations. Unless they go home to their lovers, bosses, neighbours and friends and say 'You gotta check this place out!' they're not going to try and set up a new shop there.
The days where local communties build highways, give tax breaks and re-zone land just to attract a so-called 'big employer' are long behind us.
Businesses travel to the sexy workforce now, and that workforce is found near streets of diverse and vibrant cafes, interesting street life and a busy, creative economy. That's Mainstreets.
If you do it the other way round, trying to attract the trophy tenant to catalyse the retail economy, you will alienate the local community (they don't give a shit about big retail chains) whilst perhaps never getting the trophy tenant you wanted so much.
And if you do lure the trophy tenant first, rents will go up all round, so independent retail wont have a look in.
Downturn coming? The 'big businesses' and chain stores will pull out of your town leaving the high-rent expectations still in the mind of the landlords - meaning independent retail will still not get a look in.
Don't spend you money on customer attraction - expensive newspaper advertisements and festivals - until you have a strategic independent retail and place management framework in place.
* * *
People will love your community because of the distinct portfolio of interesting local businesses and well maintained streets (independent retail and place management).
You must go out and hunt down retailers who will build a sense of place for your community.
Implicitly, they will be from the grass roots of your community, reinforcing the local economy paradigm because businesses are seeded from within your own ecology.
And that's what's nocticeble and attractive to customers.
Get that right and the customers will come without the expensive newspaper advertising and festivals.
Place management means that your public and private spaces are well made, well maintained and well marketed to potential new retailers (not customers ... yet). That's small and interesting businesses.
* * *
The reason people love mainstreets is they recognise that they are the pinnacle of community participation. Theme parks, shopping centres, libraries, schools, universities, office precincts, industrial and residential zones all serve a purpose, but nothing brings the community together in such an efficient and sustainable way as our mainstreets.
Mainstreets are the places to meet and participate whether you're a baby, an old man, a customer, a young lover, teenager, entrepreneur, budding landlord, charity, not-for-profit organisation, teacher or student.
All these people must be thrust together simultaneously because the diversity accelerates innovation.
That innovation not only drives the interest-factor for people living or working in this area, but it also makes the community and region as a whole more resilient (ie: sustainable) because of the fertile ecology of innovation, creativity and human interaction which cannot be replicated in any other place.
There is no price of admission to participate on a mainstreet.
And mainstreets include the community from birth until death in a sustainable way.
So what I do at A Beautiful City is explain, argue, fret, communicate, sell products and services and generally play my bit in the story of mainstreets.
And that's what I do. I Fix Mainstreets.