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HerSay: Bringing life to City Walk and Garema Place

Javier Steel and Ashley St George

You may have noticed that urban renewal is a recurring theme for HerCanberra at the moment.

While we struggle to keep up with the sheer number of new restaurants and bars opening every week in our city, like many people we notice the vacant shopfronts in the heart of Civic, the struggling centres of Garema Place and City Walk. A week ago, Catherine Carter, the Executive Director of the Property Council ACT wrote a column for us on the possibility of revitalising City Walk by bringing automotive traffic back through the area.

It’s certainly true that Bunda Street buzzes as a pedestrian and shared area, but would this help bring new life to City Walk and Garema Place?

We hit the streets to ask Canberrans:

“Could bringing automotive traffic back to Garema Place revitalise the space?” and “what would you do to revitalise Garema Place and City Walk?”

Tanya, Jerrabomberra


“That’s a difficult one. I think advertisement. People don’t know – there are so many new bars and placing going up around town people don’t know where anything is. You don’t get there because when you go into town you usually just head into the Canberra centre so there needs to be some publicity about Garema Place that says ‘come here”.”

Jacqui, Deakin


“I think so yeah there is a lot of foot traffic and I think there is a lot of confusion too in regards to that foot traffic because people just don’t know what to do”

Julie, Deakin


“I think they should put gardens or maybe have more public festival like food festivals and that sort of thing. When there are markets or whenever there is a festival we always go. The action is more where the cars go through like on the other side where Koko Black and Bunda St is.”

Ellie, Kingston


“I feel as though Braddon has stolen the majority of the trade from the city – I think its more street style and more casual and in the city it’s a bit more scummy and dirty – it has all the clubs. You go to Braddon [and] it looks nice and it has a great vibe. Its really important to have a good vibe. All the pop up stuff is so great. The Hamlet [for example]- I think its one of the best things they’ve ever done!”

Socretes, Kingston

Socrates“It’s a real simple question. What needs to be done in a nutshell, I’ll say it really simply – we need an open minded government. They are trying to be really cool and creative some of the things they’ve done have been really good, some have been disasters. What needs to happen for Garema Place to be revitalised is to take all the red tape out of the government, get more community involvement – a lot more people.”

“Particularly young kids [need] to throw their ideas in the ring and then collectively get four or five business leaders from all different facets who travel the world in this industry and get it, instead of having narrow minded public servants making decisions for us because the potential in the city is limitless. That’s what its about – its about getting everyone involved, getting them excited because there is so much in this city to get excited about. What’s limiting this potential is the red tape and the narrow mindedness of these politicians. Everyone has a role to play.”

All images by Ashley St George


Javier Steel

At 18, Javier left her home in the country in search of greater opportunity, leading her to Canberra's creative industry. A visual person and problem solver, Javier has been working as a Graphic Designer in the marketing industry for over eight years. In her time in Canberra, Javier has worked on countless local brands and projects including Chief Minister Andrew Barr’s identity, Brand Canberra (CBR), The Future Sessions, YWCA Canberra, CBR Innovation Network and HerCanberra. Javier is now the Creative Director of HerCanberra. More about the Author