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Rethinking The Strip – 2014 Tract Forum_____

Rethinking The Strip – 2014 Tract Forum

The 2014 Tract Forum "Rethinking The Strip" was held in Melbourne last week. It brought around 110 staff from all our national offices together with industry representatives and a range of stakeholders for a series of open conversations around decline of traditional Strip Shopping in Australia.

Discussion focussed on Bridge Road in Richmond, where Tract’s Melbourne office has been located for the past 30 years. The result was 3 days of discussions, ideas, team building and fun.

You can see all of the images on our Instagram page or by searching #RethinkingTheStrip

One of Melbourne's Town Planners had their first Tract Forum experience and has provided their impressions below.

"A lot of work went into Tract’s 2014 Forum titled ‘Rethinking the Strip’, and it showed.

Captivating graphics assisted in focussing discussions during the two breakout sessions I attended: ‘The Vacancy Market’ and ‘Third Place’. Real estate, placemaking and planning experts from outside of Tract who attended the sessions added a great deal of insight and pragmatism to the conversations.

The larger sessions had a healthy forum atmosphere, featuring members of public, the Bridge Road trader’s association, representatives from the City of Yarra, University of Melbourne and the contributions of Tract’s national team who picked up on similarities between Bridge Road and dwindling strips in the northern states.
Councillor Phillip Vlahogiannis pointed out that the fashion boom of Bridge Road might actually have been an historical aberration, and its future will not be a return to niche retail but to an entirely new vision.

The Smith Street Stampede gave us an opportunity to run rampant through revitalised parts of Collingwood and Fitzroy, misbehaving in selfies, solving puzzles, re-fuelling at Le Bon Ton and dancing with the elusive Tract Man. Trips to unique private and public spaces uncovered some impressive parts of inner Melbourne I hadn't seen before, and their appeal lay in their re-use of space and grittiness.

We had perfect weather for our Thursday and Friday night shindigs, with excellent food and super drinkable inner-suburb microbrews (hipster beers) on the Friday. The consistent deployment of food trucks led to general overfeeding. Ring toss was immensely popular on the Thursday night, but proved to be a pastime very few Tractors excelled at.

Ultimately, Tract's 2014 Forum "Rethinking The Strip" was great fun, but also extremely genuine about its goal to envision a new future for Bridge Road, strongly inviting and involving a huge array of stakeholders, and never underselling or shying away from Tract’s own important role as a stakeholder in its local strip."

It was a great success at many levels. The results and next steps of this process will be summarised and announced in coming weeks, if you would like to register your interest to receive this information, and be kept up to date on "Rethinking The Strip" please email your contact details here.
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