Reimagining Wollongong’s Future

by Graham
Edmiston Jones moved into Wollongong’s mall in mid-2016, in the intervening years things have changed noticeably, not always for the better.  While a great place to be and conduct our practice, with all the vibrancy and convenience expected of a city location during work hours, there are underlying concerns as to whether the CBD is reaching its full potential. So how do we catch an apparent decline in visitation and increase in retail vacancies in the CBD with a view to revitalising the city’s core? Consideration of the following could be a beginning for reimagining Wollongong’s CBD:
  • What is the vision? What characteristics and sort of place do we want Wollongong’s CBD to be in the future?
  • How do we make it a destination centre, a place that draws visitors from the region and beyond?
  • How do we facilitate visitation? More or less parking, more public transport infrastructure, increased awareness of what’s already available or a mix of these?
  • What is the future of the mall – pedestrian only or a return to through traffic?
  • What is the optimum mix of retail, cafes, restaurants, office space, residential accommodation and after dark night life to enable vibrancy in the city and how are these mixes accommodated? How do they coexist as adjacencies?
  • How do we encourage engagement in the public realm by the hundreds of apartment residents due to settle in the CBD over the next twelve months?
These are complex questions and not able to be answered in the space of this blog, but an approach might be considered.  A worthwhile starting point would be consideration of precedent – what examples of a similar city and set of conditions work successfully?  What is a flexible approach to infrastructure that addresses medium term problems but enables future adaptive use? There is much work to be done! One thing is for certain, we are blessed with a magnificent environment. The opportunity for Wollongong to be an even greater place to live, work and visit is there, and it must be seized. Have your say on the future of the CBD, click here to access the Wollongong City Council planning review survey.
Reimagining Wollongong’s Future