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Town square to go from drab to fab

A six-month activation project that will attempt to breathe life in to one of Canberra’s dullest public spaces has been announced for early 2019.

The Woden Town Square has long been an eyesore for nearby residents and workers, and a spot that’s avoided by many.

This long-held sentiment is what’s led to the activation project, which is the result of the #WodenExperiment research report, a collaboration between Street Furniture Australia, the ACT Government and Context Landscape Design.

The concept includes five hubs of activity: a work hub, green dining, community square, social lounge and timeout space.

The hubs feature a stage for community performances, outdoor offices, smart benches with phone and laptop charging, table tennis facilities, table settings near spaces set aside for coffee and food vendors, and turf areas with sun lounges.

The aim is to attract more visitors as well as to encourage people to stop and spend time, rather than use the area as a thoroughfare.

The concept responds to the results of six weeks’ worth of research that set out to identify Woden’s key users and stakeholders, and conduct design research to gather both qualitative and quantitative insights.

“The objective was to really try to understand the needs and aspirations of the Woden community in order to form the design brief for the town square activation,” said Street Furniture Australia design and marketing manager, June Lee Boxsell.

ACT Minister for City Services Chris Steel said activating the central town square is a key next step in the Woden Town Centre’s regeneration.

“We know the benefit of these type of activation projects … they can draw people in, bring these places to life, and help inform permanent improvements to our public spaces.

“We’re also really interested to hear from people or organisations that are keen to curate an events program or who have ideas on how to activate the new spaces with events or other activities,” he said.

Those interested in programming or running events and activities in the space during the six-months from February to July 2019 can register at yoursay.act.gov.au where the draft concept plan is also available.

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