A Beautiful City News

A Beautiful City turns 500 today

No, not 500 days (actually, we're about 853 days old) but today is the day A Beautiful City reached 500 Facebook likes. Yay!

You can celebrate too by sharing the 'A Beautiful City word' among you friends and clients.

We service Local Government, Shopping Centres and Retailers with unique services to attract more visitor traffic to their places. Our clients include the Town of Claremont, The Fremantle BID, Kardinya Park Shopping Centre, Raine Square, the Town of Victoria Park, The City of Armadale, The City of Nedlands, Subiaco Retailers Association, Love in Tokyo, Replants.com, Skin Estetica, Claremont Town Centre, the City of Joondalup, Thomas Meihoffer Jewellery, The Beaufort Street Network, owners of 705 Hay Street Mall, the Swanbourne Village Trust and The Fremantle Chamber of Commerce.

We do this by providing people counting technology, retail planning advice and sound place making and centre management decisions and direction. Thank you to all our clients that have helped us to reach this destination.

Onwards and upwards..!

A Beautiful City


Incredible Foot Traffic Increase, Year-On-Year

In July 2013 The Town of Victoria Park was our first people counting client, which now gives them over a year of community-activity data in their beautiful Albany Highway.

Albany Highway, East Victoria Park, is a precinct of incredible cafes, restaurants and independent retailers.

Above: A beautiful piece of art at the shops in East Victoria Park.

Above: A beautiful piece of art at the shops in East Victoria Park.

Our pedestrian counting equipment has been in the East Victoria Park shopping area since July 2013 and it was with great delight that 'July' and 'August' 2014 rolled over.


Now we can see - really see - if community activity has risen year-on-year in this location, because that is the holy grail of community and economic development.

Well, it has.

Above: A proven 30% increase in foot traffic, year-on-year, in East Victoria Park.

The Town of Victoria Park has asked A Beautiful City to distribute the monthly pedestrian data we collect to the good retailers of Albany Highway. So, starting soon, we will be in these fine precincts to introduce the AHA! (Albany Highway Activation project), which has delivered this professional data measurement via A Beautiful City's pedestrian counters.

In the meantime, download the current reports of these two amazing precincts:

East Victoria Park pedestrian data

East Victoria Park pedestrian data

Victoria Park pedestrian data

Victoria Park pedestrian data

West Australian Gets Sticky

Kent bought us drinks at the wonderful Imp cafe in East Vic Park

Kent bought us drinks at the wonderful Imp cafe in East Vic Park

"It was fun to speak with Kent Acott at The West Australian about a sustainable planet, traditional economies, 20th century retail development, mainstreet communities, community development and retail culture..." - Nick Takacs

Nick hasn't written for a while as we have been transforming his blog about shops, communities and retail into a site that also enables him to assist towns, retailers and centre owners understand how their context is involved in driving sustainable foot traffic to businesses.

I'm Stefan, Nick's business partner. Over the next few months, we'll be shaking things up here a little. Retail isn't dying but it is getting decomposed by changing desires: in the culture, in the artform of retail placemaking and in how we govern our communities.

Councils hold key to vibrant precincts

Embarrassing Amount Of Famousness And Genius

I'm only posting this to inform you, esteemed reader, of updates in the day of A Beautiful City.

Called in as a last minute expert for Jamie Oliver, I appeared in Australia's Sunday Times (Perth) to comment on the transformation of William Street due to Jamie's Italian restaurant now there.

This was really embarrassing because it means I now have to humble-brag everywhere I go.

Here's some of the content I gave to Gail Williams, the reporter:


"Because Jamie Oliver represents divinity in food design, deserving local product is brought to nose-to-nose with the enormous design economy that Jamie Oliver represents - such as the artwork of Kyle Hughes-Odgers, which is in the restaurant and the surrounding precinct."

"Jamie's Italian contributes to the after 5 foot traffic profile in William Street." 

"The City of Perth Economic Development Strategy 2010-2019 has an outcome of '15% growth in foot traffic in William Street from 2009-2014, to 7,894 people per summer weekday' (page 11)." 

"We measure foot traffic in 9 Perth locations (not William Street), but can confirm that this footfall target appears to have been met"


How do I really feel about it?

I've never eaten at Jamies Italian - never eaten at Italian restaurants at all*

I can cook tomatos - I can't roll sushi.

The best thing about William Street design is not the retailers at the moment, it's the shopfronts and pedestrian realm.

Jamie's could well have been an independent restaurant, which would have been better.

And the steel chairs out the front are not good. Go wood. Steel is cold on your appendix.

We don't have to pretend that super-tenants revitalise our streets.

But without their cash, landlords cannot proceed, usually.

Jamie's Italian on Urbanspoon

Unfortunately, Jamie's does not get a good reviews on Urbanspoon, hence my sour ending.  

You could say the people are disappointed.

*Except for Capri - but you go there to see a Nonna in her slippers.

Below: An example of an after-5 peak in foot-traffic.


Average hourly footfall for each day of the week in Albany Highway, East Victoria Park, Australia.

Warning - I've Fixed The Site Up

Got carried away with myself, did I?

The last two days I wrote some long posts.

But they weren't long, were they?

They were just bunched up.

I've gone back and edited them so each sentence is a paragraph.

Like this.

I can't tell if I'm smartening it up or dumbing it down.

But I imagined it was bugging you.

Which may have meant it was bugging me.

So, tell me what you think.

See the revised posts from yesterday and the day before:

- Get the new Amsterdam, part 1

- Get the new Amsterdam, part 2

Thank you.

Sickening Level Of Prizes, Awards

It's horrible how fame changes people. Me, after an initial cruise, paying off my mothers mortgage, a sausage sizzle for my football team and a polished blue Maloo - and perhaps a yellow lawn, will endeavour to politely lose it all in a spree at Adventure World and a tattoo of a Chiko Roll on my tummy, then assume my intelligible role, undercover, in the median-strip of society.

Here is an example of the sickening level of prizes and awards that I have to cope with now.

I am now on it: Place Making Leadership Council

Nominee, or something: Best Australian Best Blogs 2014

New gig: place measurement services for City of Nedlands 

New gig: business liason services for Town of Victoria Park


Tweeters: 455

Facebookers: Some

LinkedIn: Millions

Pinterest: 97 girls

Google+: Has anyone worked this out yet?

You Tube: A mess for me so far

All of these will be reserved for greater milking in subsequent posts to make my fall even greater, and Bounty's Revenge sweeter.

Changes, Updates - Maybe Even Improvements - To The A Beautiful City Website

Even I get tired of myself so I have adjusted the font so it is darker and the letters are closer together.

Coindesk has a jolly charming typeset - I've used them as inspiration - I've even changed fonts (Verdana).

Additionally a friend told me I should say 'I' rather than 'we' so I'm giving that a whiz.

I initially planned for A Beautiful City to be not-a-man-but-a-Principle but my friend might be right: sometimes a human is needed behind the debate as organic matter for the reader to watch rotting. Or thriving.

That's entertainment.

I'd also like to try summarising local mainstreet news like I see on MacroBusiness who, each Friday, leave their readers with a 'Weekend Links' posts as if to say, "You stay up, I'm going to bed" after five days of divulging all.

Wish me luck, then.

We've Jiggled The Site Round A Bit

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.

It's Now December

It's now December, and we beaver around ponds of pedestrian data for November and publish it.

This month is different.

Since July we've been doing this, and each time it's a private excitement which I'm no longer going to hide! So I am writing mini-articles as I go (it might take three days to collate and publish all our reports) which publish my insights (into whatever) as we go.

I recent had a look at the statistics for this site and realised we have quite a chunky number of readers. Instantly that strangled me. I want to maintain relevance and quality whilst being un-boring.

So you have to tell me how I go. OK?

Tracer Mk3 at St George Bank, 21 Adelaide Street, Fremantle, Australia