Carter / The city centre that’s easy to forget

Share Canberra's trusted news:

TIMES Square in New York has its video screens, LED lights and swarms of people.

Madrid’s Plaza Mayor is famous for its beautiful buildings and bullfighting. Nelson’s Column in London’s Trafalgar Square attracts legions of tourists, as does Venice’s Piazza San Marco, “the drawing room of Europe”.

Catherine Carter.
Catherine Carter.
And the gardens and statuary in Buenos Aires’ Plaza de Mayo and the gothic spires and dreamy bridges of Prague’s Old Town Square have captured imaginations for centuries.

All these world-famous city squares have one thing in common: they are memorable.

In comparison, Canberra’s city centre is a place of faded shop signs, scaffolding and slow foot traffic, empty offices and graffiti, car parks and peeling paint.

Don’t let anyone tell you that Civic is just another of Canberra’s many “town centres”. As the heart of our city, it should be the hub of our economic, social and cultural activities – as well as a great place to live.

It’s currently a missed opportunity.

Part of our challenge is the size of our CBD – at 1.6 hectares, it’s almost as big as the CBDs of Sydney and Melbourne.

Many of the most vibrant hotspots of our city centre – from ANU’s Exchange and New Acton in the City West to Lonsdale Street in the north – teeter on the edges of the CBD.

The walk from the Canberra Centre to the lake is 1.6 kilometres – not something to be undertaken during a lunch break.

With so much activity going on in far-flung corners of the city, it should be no surprise that places such as Garema Place and City Walk are looking tired and in need of some TLC.

The Property Council, in partnership with Canberra CBD, is bringing together people with an interest in Civic – from planners and public servants to restaurant owners, retailers, designers and developers – to explore what we need to do to make our CBD memorable. By thinking outside the square we may just get a town square of which we can all be proud.

Catherine Carter is ACT executive director of the Property Council of Australia.

Who Can You Trust?

In a world beleaguered by spin and confused messages, there's never been more need for diverse, trustworthy, independent journalism in Canberra.

Who can you trust? Well, for more than 25 years, "CityNews" has proudly been an independent, free, family-owned news magazine, serving the national capital with quality, integrity and authority. Through our weekly magazine and daily through our digital platforms, we constantly and reliably deliver high-quality and diverse opinion, news, arts, socials and lifestyle columns.

If you trust our work online and believe in the power of independent voices, I encourage you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support will be invested back into our journalism so we can continue to provide a valuably different view of what's happening around you and keep citynews.com.au free.

Click here to make your donation and you will be supporting the future of journalism and media diversity in the ACT.

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Previous articleNCA to be grilled on Parliamentary Zone paid parking
Next articleNicole Lawder asks why so many children are dying?
Catherine Carter
Former ACT executive director of the Property Council of Australia

4 COMMENTS

  1. Amazing architecture and public art (I have to say that I’m not a fan of many of the current public art in Canberra), wifi (yes I heard it’s been switched on!), a big screen (a bit sad but it seems to work), lots of inter-state and international visitors, and weekend markets and perfomances are just a few things that might attract more people to civic. Think about the crowds at Multicultural Festivals…

Leave a Reply