With the rise of smaller dwellings and higher-density living arrangements, high-quality town centres within walking distance are becoming an essential extension of the urban lifestyle. More and more West Australians are seeking the benefits of convenient access to a town centre; the spontaneous social interaction, people watching while sipping barista-made coffee, a variety of dining choices at your doorstep, bustling farmers markets, and seamless connections to public transport. At the same time, changes to State planning legislation for ‘activity centres’ are requiring more integration of land uses within town centres so they function as community hubs rather than stand alone shopping centres.
While certainly creating a richer, more compelling environment, there is considerable added complexity when mixing uses in an urban setting. Trading hours, access configurations, parking management, public-private interface – these become complex puzzles to solve as part of the design process. There is also the additional complication that certain uses and configurations may not be viable in the early stages of a project; however, they may need to be accommodated in the long-term vision. It takes creativity and experience to plan for the development of a place that works in the short term without precluding the long term realisation of its potential.
Principal of Edgefield Projects, Jeff Thierfelder, has significant experience working on mixed-use town centres. Jeff has a detailed knowledge of building typologies and configurations, form based codes, as well as a keen awareness of the economic drivers that make retail successful. This integrated understanding creates the opportunity for an authentic and vibrant place while allowing for each of the elements to be individually successful. Recent town centre design work that Jeff has led includes the Mirrabooka Town Centre, Carousel Shopping Centre expansion, and the Westfield Stirling City Centre.
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