Successful centres are a complex amalgamation of context, character, structure and uses. Studio GL’s staff have had extensive experience of strengthening town centres through good planning and design. In 2008 staff members undertook cutting-edge research for a National Developer to identify the fundamentals of success for small centres and the factors needed to create centres with the right mix of services, amenities and convenience. A few years later while working for ARUP the same individuals applied this understanding of the factors of successful centres to the Nowra CBD Urban Design Master Plan (2011) and the Cessnock CBD Master Plan (2012).
In 2013, one of Studio GL’s first projects was the award winning Five Dock Town Centre Urban Design Study.. Since then we have deepened this understanding of town centres in both regional and urban locations through numerous projects, research and conference papers, and various professional roles. This has included a presentation on town centres as part of Enliven Pittwater for Pittwater Council in 2014 and a paper on Re-Thinking the Centre at the International City and Town Conference (ICTC) in July 2015. More recently we have applied our extensive knowledge to four Town Centre Masterplans in the Upper Hunter of NSW.
Through our research and experiences we have learnt that while every centre shares key drivers, each is different and unique and the challenges of regional and suburban locations can be as significant as those of a central location.
Through our involvement in all these projects we have found that the signs of a successful centre remain constant. These lively attractive places are integrated and connected, vibrant well into the evening, diverse, comfortable to use, accessible for all, economically viable and memorable and unique.