01/09/2020 - 14:39

The art of placemaking in retail

01/09/2020 - 14:39


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Regularly used in a property development context, placemaking is a term that continues to gain new ground. It is a wide-reaching concept, but at its core is about understanding your community and their needs in order to create a more unique experience that is tailor made just for them.

While the notion of creating places that people love is not new, it has become more relevant in recent years and has never been more important in the world of retail. We know that if people and place are at the heart of our approach, we can deliver exceptional localised experiences that are both socially and economically successful.

As public spaces change and technology evolves, consumers expect more than just a traditional shopping experience. They want places that reflect the specific needs of their neighbourhood where they can relax, celebrate and spend quality time. Shoppers are seeking a more personalised experience that engages their senses.

Shopping centre owners and landlords will often look to events and activations to create experiences for customers and while this forms part of a placemaking strategy, the concept has a much broader influence across the retail mix, marketing, design and even down to how the centre operates and functions. 

Placemaking varies greatly from centre to centre, depending on the unique needs of their community.  Customer research is important in determining what the main priorities are for a particular centre. For example, incorporating kids’ play would be a focus for centres with a strong demographic of young families, whereas this might be a lesser priority in other centres.

Researching the surrounding area and collecting feedback from customers and focus groups will allow you to respond to the community’s needs, opportunities and aspirations for the centre. This is a different approach to telling customers what they want by applying a pre-determined design, tenancy mix and brand across all centres regardless of their location within a city, suburb or state.

The $800 million development of Karrinyup Shopping Centre will create a hive of activity that customers will see as the beating heart of their community, and a place that people from all over Perth can come together and enjoy. An exciting new dining and entertainment precinct with restaurants and a HOYTS cinema, family play and outdoor spaces, site-specific artworks, lush landscaping and cool refreshing water are just some of the elements that have been incorporated to create a place that’s unique to its urban, beachside location.

Key to developing and implementing a successful placemaking strategy is working collaboratively with internal and external teams from the very early stages of a project. Elements such as the design and tenant mix need to align with the placemaking brief, but it is also important that the operations team are involved from the outset to ensure they can take ownership of the strategy on a day-to-day basis once the development is complete.

Putting place at the heart of what we do creates memorable experiences that go beyond the traditional shopping offering. Combining elements such as design, the tenant mix and curated events will create a multi-dimensional experience which people will return to time and time again. This in turn adds value to our clients, tenants and customers alike. 

Nicole De Gioia is AMP Capital’s Design Director for Major Projects. The $800 million development of Karrinyup Shopping Centre is underway and set for completion by the end of 2021. For leasing enquiries, contact Jackie Merriman on 0417 772 121.


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