The Secret To A Sense Of Place


There's a blog called Freo's View and it's jolly good.

There's an interesting dialogue going on over there about Place Management.

Diana Ryan asks whether all our places are going to end up looking the same.

This is my take on it.


Place management is about fostering assets.

Assets should be distinct. It's part of what makes an asset.

Place managers should be facilitating local assets for regional sustainability and local distinctiveness.

Local governments are recognising this in part, but too often just book marketing ads, run a festival or knit a bootie on to a tree.

A good place manager must be able to create a competitive community, and the local distinctiveness (born from its assets - people - locally) is critical for this.

The fundamental legacy of place management should be that local peopel (assets) have a community which self-develops as part of its day-to-day doings.

Because reinvention is necessary for vitality and competitiveness.

It's culture, really.

It's a different issue whether a local person or an interstate consultant can provide this best.

This is where the web of industry and communities wrap themselves up in conflict and contradiction.

No consultant probably believes he isn't completely necessary but should not be paid to help.

See? Web.

The answer I think is a sustainable system of self-development where extra, professional staff are less necessary.

Many cities have this: they are special area rate organisations who have a staff member to do their bidding.

But these are badly run sometimes so the outcomes are not there or not good enough.

Place management has a long way to go. The journey's exciting.

But hopefully, we're all unnecessary anyway.

A good place manager must understand how private property, the attraction of businesses, retail uses and business management affect community participation.

Must also tie bootie to tree.

Above: Le Bon Cake Shop, 93 Acland Street, St Kilda, Australia  Le Bon Continental Cake Shop on Urbanspoon


Below: The Imp, 863 Albany Highway East Victoria Park  The Imp on Urbanspoon

Tiny Tables are not just to get more bums on seats.

It is to engineer more incidental contact between strangers.

That is an essential service we come to coffee shops for - as much as the black stuff in the cup.

No, perhaps this is better.

Below: The always-supporting-your-community state-government Department of Housing 24-hr shopfront.

No mosquitoes can get in.

269 Albany Highway, Victoria Park.

This Is How The Private Sector Pays For Community Development

You're at a street. You see something new.

You cross the road.

An old service station has been fit out as a cafe. The forecourt has a large, timber deck on it.

The place is packed.

You're glad your friend recommended this place, and you sit down with him and have a chin-wag.

And, as a bonus, the coffee is excellent.

Along come 2 more chums you haven't seen in a while. Together, you all hatch new plans for your careers. Away you will go to improve your businesses and households.

The world wins.

And innocently in the background, pedalling away to maintain all this community, is Place.

And that place is made and maintained by Johnny Retailer.

*           *           *

Retailers fund community development.

All the local government has to do it curate it.

Never wait for your place to populated by the best retailers. Go out and hunt them down.

They are the place managers who drive  community building at no cost to you, the local government.

Cash, talent, design, resources, risk - it's all handled by your local independant retailer.

Roasting Warehouse, 312 South Terrace, South Fremantle, Australia

Di Bella Coffee Roasting Warehouse on Urbanspoon

Lovers in the Economy #3

Above: Community activity, participation and even intimacy takes place in our public mainstreets.

Our retailers provide the places. They are the creators of the community and the economy.

John Gorilla cafe, 49 Pearson Street, Brunswick West, Australia.

You Will Never Have Economy Without Community - And Vice Versa

Above: This is one of my favourite photos because it shows a community of gentlemen in the centre of public life.

The image of the retired gent sitting on a park bench arguing about football or politics, or playing chess with his friends, makes up a huge part of the mainstreet myth and ideal, and I know it's an image thousands of mainstreets want to capture for themselves.

So thank you 'Gino's', 1 South Terrace, Fremantle, Australia, because retailers drive public life and you're doing that.

And you can download the A Beautiful City report for more about that.

Gino's Cafe & Trattoria on Urbanspoon


Tasty Interior Design - Haven't Seen That Before

Above: Interior. Greens and Co. 123 Oxford Street, Leederville, Australia.

Comforting, because in our super-heat, the paper lanterns sway with the breeze.

Not all good though. We hear the Greens and Co. proprietor is the same person appearing in our Naughty Melons page.

I'm sure there's a reasonable excuse, isn't there?

*           *           *

Greens & Co on Urbanspoon

More Greens.

Sleepless A Beautiful City Counts People to Go to Sleep

I can't help myself.

When I've had a surplus of sleep and I'm awake at 3am and ready to go, I don't go to the beach or do a workout.

I drive to our business districts, taking people-counter measurements and photos, and admiring our economies whilst they're asleep.

This is what your mainstreets looked like at 4am.

Below: Mimco, 673 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley

Below: The Daily Planet, 634 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley

Below: Street cleaning at the The Northbridge Arch, corner of James and Lake Street, Northbridge

Below: Catholic Church, and the Central Institute of Technology Arts Building, with mural, at 12 Aberdeen Street, Northbrdge

Below: Our famous cockatoos, corner of Newcastle and William Streets, Northbridge

Below: The Good Store, 363 Albany Highway, Victoria Park

Below: Saffi Belle, 28 Market Street, Fremantle.  Seen in an A Beautiful City design blog.

Below: Remedy and Clara, 95 High Street, Fremantle

More People Counters For Perth

I am pleased to announce that the Town of Victoria Park has committed to two people-counters for their interesting and vibrant communities on Albany Highway Vic Park and East Vic Park.

Tiny Tables #3

Cimbalino Espresso, 16 Napoleon Street, Cotetsloe, Australia

Yes, I'm a tiny table fetishist.  Why?  Because they're romantic, beautiful, and scare away smelly people.

Big picnic benches are for leftover pie wrappers, chicken bones and abandoned Masters cartons.

Tiny tables are for espresso, sex, books and music.

So if you - yes, you in local government - want your street to be excitable, sexy, well educated and with rhythm, spend money on expert human resources to hunt down retailers who know the seductive secret of tiny tables.

Three things every cafe owner needs to know

1.  Have an interesting name.

2.  Your retail design is a collection of solutions to your problems: How should we clad the counter?  How should we dress the tables? What are people going to see when they look up?  How are we going to light the cafe without a ceiling cavity?  How can I finally put my long wooden ruler collection to use?

3.  Visit as many other cafes as you can in order to come up with your own inspiration.

That's it.

John Gorilla, 49 Pearson Street, Brunswick West, Australia


And a typical Australian scene across the road from John Gorilla to top it off.

Run, don't walk, to New Edition bookshop now

Imagine the best bookshop in the southern hemisphere, according to Tim Rogers.

Then imagine incorporating a brilliantly designed espresso bar on a sub-lease - The Grumpy Sailor.  This is a difficult feat including many headaches with all the landlord negotiations and council approvals.  Thank goodness the City of Fremantle gives permissions to high quality retail design and street activation.

Lastly, place a fashion shop in the rear of the huge bookshop.  The result is Velvet Sushi who now occupies the former bank safe and sells high quality fashion and accessories whilst the hubbub of the espresso and bookworming goes on all around.

Other cities and shopping centre managers - run, don't walk, to Velvet Sushi now and suck it up.

Deborah McKendrick in Velvet Sushi, 82 High Street, Fremantle, Australia


Lovers of the economy

I'm REALLY happy to launch this new section.

Such fun and beauty!

However: caution.  I am very uncomfortable about street photography which deliberately steals people's intimate moments.

I'm going to do it anyway.

X-Wray Cafe, Essex Street, Fremantle, Australia

If you are brother and sister SORRY.

Bent Shops Are Best 2

As a follow-up from Wednesday's post, have a look at two shops only doors from each other.

One is irregular and has a lot of activity.  One is dead straight and is ... quiet.

Greens & Co, 123 Oxford Street, Leederville, Australia


Siena's, 115 Oxford Street

Shots taken a few minutes apart.