Robina: Place-making in Shopping Centres

Giant Shopping Centres.
Love or hate them, they are an almost unavoidable part of city and suburban life for shopping, errands, transit, entertainment and services.  Though private spaces they function and “feel” largely public and in doing so they also have a role in showing community activation and good design. 

Visiting Robina Town Centre, I enjoyed the pop-up rainforest and pop-up Teepee Village. The tents housed programs of music, yoga and craft classes and were located near dining.  It was a good use for an otherwise empty plaza.    Certainly in QLD’s climates we actually have opportunities for linking indoor-outdoor spaces more than some other “big box” locations. 

I have also been curiously noticing  more “public space” ideas in the designs of Westfield Shopping Centres.  At Garden City, recently I noticed clever “busking” activation in the food court and in shopping walkways, and layout and material choices which were feeling more “laneway” and “outdoorsy” in some areas.

So if retail is learning from urban design – what can urban design also learn from retail? 

  • Experience Design? 
  • Business models?
  • Marketing?
  • Renewal Phases?
  • Customer Service?
  • Rewards programs?
  • Technology integration?
  • Land ownership, leasing, incentive models? 

This now reminds me to check the PSFK Future of Retail, which I always like look at to see how trends and experience design can carry across sectors.


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