Revitalising Canberra city by making vacant commercial spaces available for short-term community and creative use.
VacantSpace aims to make empty commercial spaces temporarily available for community and artistic use in the Canberra city, with broader vision to revitalise city life, retain local talents and promote local economy and opportunities in the capital city.
The problem VacantSpace addresses is the high vacancy rate in Civic. In July 2014, according to research done by the CBR CBD Limited, more than 9% of tenancies were vacant. That number has since climbed up to 18% in July 2015, factoring in new developments on Northbourne Ave and Mort Street. This represents a substantial under-utilisation of land resources, as many of these spaces have been left unoccupied not just for months, but years.
While vacant spaces are scattered around the city, many community and creative groups including local artists, musicians, creative entrepreneurs and small business owners are finding it hard to pay full commercial rents to secure work spaces/stations to carry out their projects or to experiment their business ideas.
It is with the view of closing this market gap that VacantSpace was born. Guided by the strong and viable operation model of Renew Newcastle, VacantSpace aims to facilitate a licensing system that will allow community groups to repurpose vacant spaces on a rolling 30 day cycle, until commercial leasing opportunities arise, or at a time of choosing by property owners.
By making better use of vacant spaces in the city centre, VacantSpace will create value not only to community groups that will benefit from having a space to carry out their projects/businesses. Property owners can showcase their spaces to potential tenants when meaningful activities are taking place. The Canberra public can also enjoy a more vibrant city lifestyle that promotes a sense of community, participation and opportunity.
Canberra CBD has long been suffering from a lack of vibrancy due to its high vacancy rate. VacantSpace aims to make empty commercial spaces temporarily available for community and artistic use, with a broader vision to revitalise the city centre, while retaining local talents and promoting local opportunity and economy.
By casting your vote to VacantSpace, not only are you giving your local and creative communities a chance to thrive, you are also playing an important role in shaping Canberra and its city life – one that promotes a sense of community, participation and opportunities.
I believe in using minimum amount of resources for maximum impact. The grant will hence be used to cover expenses essential for the running for the venture, including public liability insurance and initial set up costs such as brand and web development.
When VacantSpace is successful in creating positive change in Civic, it will expand to other parts of Canberra where vacant commercial spaces can be better used by the community and for the community.
Undertaking this project will also give me a taste of how it’s like to start a social venture for a cause I really care about. The skills, networks and people relationships that I gain from this learning adventure will no doubt give me the confidence to create more community-minded and socially conscious initiatives in the future.
My Skills: A self starter with project management skills and connection with the artist and startup community.