Wollongong's Globe Lane is set for a major transformation into not just a thoroughfare but a destination, like iconic laneways in Melbourne.
Creatives are currently being sought to put forward their ideas on creative signage for the northern entrance to the lane and structures that involve seating in other parts of the lane that would also entice more foot traffic to wander into the ailing Crown Street Mall.
It's part of Wollongong City Council's "wayfinding" strategy which has evolved from various reports and feedback conducted in recent years advocating a more pedestrian- and people-friendly city.
"We want people to come back to the mall but also ... create a special identity for Globe Lane," said Sofia Gibson, council's City Culture and Activation Manager.
"When we talk about memorable cities - a lot of people might talk about Melbourne with its laneway culture - we've got Globe Lane, with its wonderful murals and small bars and really gorgeous niche businesses."
Ms Gibson explained the lane was chosen to be the first precinct to undergo a vibrant transformation into a "special, social space" because of its connecting link to the CBD and mall, its proximity to the train station and the foreshore, as well as public feedback signalling it wasn't visible enough and lacked colour.
A lot of people might talk about Melbourne with its laneway culture - we've got Globe Lane, with it's wonderful murals and small bars and really gorgeous niche businesses.Sofia Gibson
According to the design brief the structures need to withstand a minimum of 20 years in the elements and involve an oversized sign illumination of the words Globe Lane.
"It could be a whole range of things - it can be public art, lighting, shelter, digital content, projections, anything," Ms Gibson said.
"The directional signage is like, in a music analogy, your baseline and then creative elements and creative wayfinders are the melody over the top."
She said the project was hoped to be complete within this financial year (COVID-19 restrictions permitting). The arts precinct was being tabled for the next creative makeover because of the location as well as already being "a hub of culture and creativity".
"The wayfinding project initially came out from when council commissioned and then endorsed the A City for People: Public Spaces Public Life [report] in 2016," Ms Gibson said.
"There were key precinct areas that were identified within the city centre from ... rail arrival, arts precinct, foreshore, the Crown Street Mall and in that [report] one of the projects was to creatively connect the city."
Shortlisted artists will be paid $2000 to present their concept to council, with $125,000 awarded to the winning proposal for all aspects of the project including artist/creative fees, design, licences, production, et cetera.
Council has already been toying with "creative wayfinding" to make the CBD more attractive with billboards highlighting local musicians, artists and music venues; lighting; colour and specific plants installed; along with a dedicated website for what is happening in the city centre.
An EOI for the Globe Lane project is open until August 29.
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.