The Resurgence of High Streets
Last week, on Afternoons with Katherine Feeney on ABC Radio, Katherine spoke with Senior Lecturer in Urban Planning, Dr Dorina Pojani from the University of Queensland, who with her research team, has just completed a study of Brisbane suburban High Streets.
It has been said that the shopping centres killed the suburban High Street and online shopping is now killing the shopping centres. Now Baby Boomers to Millennials and Generation Z are returning to the High Street once again. With the boom of online shopping, consumers are increasingly wanting bespoke and boutique products and experiences with restaurants and cafes, not just a repeat of national chains. As a result, High Streets are experiencing a resurgence.
When pressed by Ms Feeney as to what are the better Brisbane suburban High Streets, Dr Pojani stated Cambridge Parade Manly, along with Moorooka and Nundah meet most of the criteria. The study compared the suburban High Streets with three, well-established inner-city examples that included James Street Fortitude Valley, Grey Street South Brisbane and Boundary Street West End.
The ratings were based on 5 observations:
Were there recognisable and memorable physical elements that capture and evoke the emotions?
Were there elements that created a defined precinct?
- Human Scale
Did the precinct cater for pedestrians in preference to motor vehicles?
This pertains to the level of human activity that can be seen beyond the edge of the street. Opening shop fronts with concertina windows and footpath dining and active laneways.
Complexity refers to the visual nature and richness of the street that encourages walkability day and night. Variation of buildings facades, street furniture, trees (in particular those lit at night). A vibrant “Night Economy” ads an additional layer to the vibrancy and viability of a suburban High Street.
Manly Harbour Village – A world away from the everyday.