Presentation by SGS Director Roger Gibbins to the seminar "Going Local: Creating Place-based Economies" organized by Village Well, Moreland City Council and Economic Development Australia
2 December 2009, Melbourne
In practical terms, localisation is all about bringing destinations close to origins to contain travel demand, bringing environmental, economic and social benefits. Perhaps the key issue is the distribution of retail floorspace.
Our current system results in retail ‘citadels' - centrally located in exclusive catchments; under single ownership to manage tenant mix; with a restricted supply of floorspace to underpin rent levels; excluding retailers who cannot afford the rent floorprice; and designed so as to prevent integration of adjacent development if it occurs. What's missing? Diversity, small business development, mobilization of local capital, opportunities to create local employment and other important benefits.
Gibbins suggests an alternative model for activity centres which would include opportunity for community based businesses. This approach would bring significant benefits to the local economy: as an example, in metropolitan Melbourne, it could potentially create 7,500 new jobs directly in retailing by adding 150,000 square metres of ‘modest rent' floorspace to 29 free-standing malls. The presentation identifies many practical planning policies to encourage activity centres this alternative model envisages, and to ensure diversity of ownership within activity centres.
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