Covid-19 has had widespread impacts globally and locally, with no individual, business, neighbourhood or city left untouched or devastated by the pandemic.

In the face of these challenges, Mainstreet Australia has witnessed creative innovation and collaboration between traders, community groups, not for profits and local Councils. It has been incredibly inspiring to see people getting into their overalls on the street, painting facades, curating their outdoor dining set ups, brightening up window displays, sticking on decals and utilising online marketplaces to merge with ‘the street’ to create a sense of place. No matter how much we hear that bricks and mortar retail is ‘dying’ or so and so main street is ‘dead’ – physical places where you have meaningful social connections and spontaneous encounters will always be a part of our local ecosystems.

Where there is a shift or decline in consumer behaviour, there is an opportunity to do things differently. People want and need to be outside, meeting, walking and physically experiencing their neighbourhood and shopping local. So we thought it was timely to share some great examples Mainstreet Australia has come across to shine a spotlight on how traders associations, place managers and community groups are doing things differently:

1. Rediscover Local Shoppable Windows by Banyule City Council who developed a fantastic way for shoppers to scan QR codes on vacant shop fronts and purchase on the go. Read more here.

2. MORESPACE by Moreland City Council creates shoppable windows with bright window decals and creative graphics showcasing makers and creatives. Read more here.

3. Renew Fitzroy St with Renew Australia and City of Port Phillip- local makers and artists activating vacant shops on affordable short term leases. Read more here.






 4. Little India Precinct, with City of Greater Dandenong and Ching Ching Lee (Designer and Consultant) worked with over a dozen traders to makeover shopfronts, new window decals, façade and signage improvements and visual merchandising strategies. Read more here.

Samantha Choudhury has over 15 years experience in Australia and the USA as a passionate urbanist whose interest lies in creating prosperous places that matter and that people can connect with. She has a background in urban planning, participatory design and community engagement, and has worked on a range of urban scales including mainstreets, city-wide urban renewal and regeneration, neighbourhood revitalisation, community-led planning and placemaking, planning for mixed use and commercial environments, providing urban design advice and facilitating large scale urban development to name a few.

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