Category Archives: Gold Coast

GC: Night Quarter

The GC’s  new Night Quarter is probably sick of the comparison to Brisbane’s Eat Street, but this new spot is proving the winning formula of containers, food, stalls, music, and plenty of astroturf!

To me, Eat Street is still is a great example of semi-permanent placemaking as it remains on a future development site.  I’m not sure the development status of Night Quarter is the same but it has a similar “lighter, quicker” tactical urbanism vibe.

Here’s some differences I noticed between the two –

  • The car parking is just as hectic.  They seem to have a deal with Helensvale’s Town Centre which is a nice co-location idea as the shopping centre isn’t generally trading Friday and Saturday nights.
  • The public transport is better and right next to the train station
  • Feels a bit better organised with a higher presence of staff and the seating layout seems a bit better
  • There’s is a kids area for activities which is a nice touch for families
  • It is smaller which might make it a more manageable space, and less overwhelming that what Eat Street can feel.

Either way, both are showing that containers are great design opportunities and that markets of all kinds do wonderful things for community gathering.


Caba Creative Trail

Caba Creative is a creative collective on the Tweed Coast building a creative, vibrant & inclusive community with events, workshops & activities

Today was the showcase “Caba Creative Trail” event, full of markets, art installations, crafts, and music to activate the parks and headland area.

There were lots of simple and effective ideas like yarnbombing, public space frames, and low cost temporary art, that could be great inspirations for other communities and place-making events.

GC: Chalk at Little Mali Cafe

Little Mali near Snapper Rocks.   This tiny cafe, won me over with free kids sidewalk chalk and a whole corner to scribble on. Good way to distract kids and a very simple and effective placemaking idea

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GC: Miami Marketta

Miami Marketta.  This pocket of weekend vibrancy in the middle of an industrial area, if both a surprising and unsurprising slice of place-making all at the same time.  Not surprising since food, music + drinks is a winning combo to gather, but it also has an added layer of mural art, colourful design, and creative stores along this laneway/driveway built form.   This more creative edge, probably speaks to its origins and site, which starting out as Rabbitt +Cocoon (a wider collective and space for co-working, creativity and activation etc)

It’s a fun place to eat, but more to the point, it seems symbolic of a wonderful community, energy and “scene” that is willing to give things a go and foster ideas.

Beach Placemaking: Kirra Kites

Since living down the coast now, I like exploring how beaches are being used as public space.  They function like parks and paths, but to me they also feel very different to greenspace in culture, environment and sensory space.

I’m sure there lots of transferable public space ideas from beaches that could be applied in more “urban” places (and vice versa) – but KITES! Kites seem pretty site-specific to coastal areas.  Like temporary art sculptural installation, the kites created instant scale, colour and spectacle.  It also appear super simple and effective with seemingly minimal infrastructure needs and being an easily moveable format.  The kites themselves are “passive” in a way and additional programming, music, markets and kids activity were in the beachfront park. The festival was a good example of being multi-locational too (also at Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise)

I kind of like that kites probably don’t work everywhere (ie for space and wind), and it highlights questions to me about uniqueness and place branding.  Sometimes it feels like it is hard to be unique or innovative in placemaking – when we see heaps more markets, food trucks, parklets, laneways “pop-up” things etc etc which are now almost a formula or playbook for any city.  So then it goes back to understanding “place” – because when any format/ activity could be technically adapted, for it to really work it still needs to be appropriate for a given community or space.


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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.