Hal: The really big thinking concerns the audience you are …

Comment on Cultural centre – think big! by Steve Thorne.

Hal: The really big thinking concerns the audience you are hoping to attract so that the economy and society of Alice Springs as a whole is revitalised.
While Desert Knowledge precinct is a big site, it would be out of the reach of most visitors staying in short stay accommodation in and around the town centre.
You would also be removing spin off effects for other businesses and cultural organisations in the town centre. Hobart is very different as it has population and scale to allow MONA to operate more remotely without removing social and economic energy from the city centre.
As to the design, you may have missed presentations and designs of just such a cultural centre on the Hartley Street car park with gardens, meeting place and all the rest.
This was presented publicly in 2012 by Sue Dugdale, Paul Carter and myself. Since then the ASTC and the Uniting church have attempted to obtain funding to support a further iteration of the plan.
Whatever happens, the project should be one which empowers Centralians to express themselves and showcase their creativity.
This process should be as inclusive as possible.
I hope it happens one day, as it has been talked about for a long time.

Steve Thorne Also Commented

Cultural centre – think big!
Hal, That’s already been built. It’s in Canberra on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. Steve.


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I congratulate the Council for its foresight in going ahead with this trial. When the town centre revitalisation project began in 2009, the northern end of the mall was characterised by anti-social behaviour, blank walls, and a fair amount of desolation. There was a clear economic strategy to bring life and vitality back into that section of the mall, to make it “cool” and encourage increased patronage of those shops which continued to struggle in that part of town. Part of the economic strategy was to open the mall to cars, but control speeds through design. This has happened. A further strategy was to design furniture and landscapes which could be skated. It was with grave concern for the economic recovery of the town centre that I read of the fines and banning of skaters from the mall. I am relieved that those bans have now been lifted, at least for a period of time. Part of the strategy to make the northern part of the mall “cool” is to increase a sense of ownership and prevent potential damage to infrastructure. If a place is valued by the broader community (including skaters) it is less likely to be damaged or vandalised. For this reason it was designed to appeal to the broadest range of potential users. More people in town and a vibrant town centre will be good for business I suggest.

I respectfully differ with Murray Stewart as he was a member of the council which opened the mall to traffic and therefore cannot now argue that skateboards will be dangerous when cars pose more of a potential hazard to pedestrians than skateboards. I am certain that skaters, if treated with more respect than they have been during this saga, will be mindful and respectful of other people’s safety and comfort. This is their opportunity to show this. I’m sure they won’t disappoint.


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