Adelaide’s neighbourhood ‘rediscovery’
A surge of customers at suburban food and beverage outlets should be supported with policies that decentralise capital city spatial structures, experts say, as work-from-home staffers continue to snub Adelaide’s CBD.
Pubs and bars across suburban Adelaide have been experiencing strong and sustained trading since the easing of pandemic restrictions allowed them to reopen at limited capacity, even if many CBD businesses are missing their former customers.
University of South Australia Urban and Regional Planning professor Stefanie Duhr said the “rediscovering of neighbourhoods” offered an opportunity to rethink how Australian cities were structured.
“Australia does not have a strong tradition of strategic spatial planning, and metropolitan strategies are not very visionary, but perhaps the pandemic could offer opportunities to think outside the box,” she said.
Professor Duhr said the “spatial structure of Australian capital cities was not sustainable”.
She said there were too many people commuting into the city prior to the pandemic, only to come home to suburbs that “sometimes don’t offer much more than residential development in the evening”.
“European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands offer examples of how a more decentralised spatial structure can result in high quality of life outside the CBD and also outside capital cities anywhere in the nation,” Professor Duhr said.
“If we want to build on the opportunities for achieving a more decentralised settlement pattern, which the current trends following the pandemic and the shift to working from home are offering, we need urban and transport policies that can support this.”