Commissioned by the City of Melbourne and Places Victoria in late 2012, Docklands Spaces was a pilot initiative by Renew Australia to activate some of the underutilised spaces in Docklands through incubating short-term uses by creative enterprises and independent local initiatives on a rent-free basis.
The program was launched publicly in December 2012 when properties were first secured through the generosity of properties in New Quay and the Waterfront City Piazza. During the first call for expressions of interest over 80 makers, designers, artists, community groups and other creative types applied for space.
In the first six months of the program seven projects were successfully placed in spaces across the Docklands. The program continued to expand through 2013 and 2014 with properties secured in Harbour Town, Victoria Harbour and Collins Landing.
Throughout the life of the project, Renew Australia continued to receive interest for new start-ups with well over 200 enquiries for space. Since its inception, the Docklands Spaces program has assisted more than twenty small businesses, community groups and creative projects to set up in Docklands.
Upon review, looking at the projects involved in the program, reveals a group of people who are passionate about what they do, engaging members of their local community and bringing life, activity and value to the precinct. Collectively these projects have been responsible for introducing many new people to Docklands, for generating positive stories about the precinct and introducing a layer of life and activity that may not otherwise have been there.
After more than three years, the Docklands Spaces program closed in June 2016. Renew Australia would like to thank the City of Melbourne and Places Victoria for both their ongoing support and funding of the initiative and would also like to thank MAB, Lend Lease, property owners and respective agents for their support and willingness to be part of the Docklands Spaces program.
Renew Australia is a national social enterprise designed to catalyse community renewal, economic development, the arts and creative industries across Australia. It works with communities and property owners to take otherwise empty shops, offices, commercial and public buildings and make them available to incubate short-term use by artists, creative projects and community initiatives.
Renew Australia is based on experiences and strategies pioneered by Renew Newcastle. In 2008 Renew Newcastle was established as a low cost, low budget DIY urban renewal scheme that has proved highly successful and generated significant media and community interest locally, nationally and internationally. As the direct result of Renew Newcastle’s activities more than 80 new businesses and initiatives had been seeded and Newcastle was hailed by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit in 2011 due to the exciting, eclectic creative community that had been seeded there.
Renew Australia is a not for profit company limited by guarantee that trades as a social enterprise. It provides fee for service based consultancy, project management, research, training and other services to councils, State and Federal Government, economic development professionals, developers and property owners. Revenue made from this will allow us to subsidise services, to offer seed funding and support for artists and community groups, and free and subsidised training for community builders.