The Suburban Alliance, a non-for-profit planning think tank has released a new case study and vision document this week to stimulate discussion and policy change for the rejuvenation of an underutilised industrial centre in Brisbane’s middle ring.
Salisbury Reloaded and Reimagined is the culmination of six months of work from Urban Economics and Tract Urban Designers and Town Planners, and calls for flexibility in land use designations, a focus on employment generation activities and collaboration between private and government stakeholders.
Suburban Alliance Director and Head of Property & Advisory at Stronghold Investment Services, Steve de Nys initiated the project and said he had a soft spot for Salisbury going back over 20 years.
“As the former Head of Industrial at Jones Lang LaSalle, I was involved in a few transactions in the Salisbury precinct and it always struck me as being a suburb that had more potential,” he said.
“Salisbury is 11km to the south of Brisbane, wedged between major road networks, the Toohey Forest and Griffith University. It has a fascinating history and over the years there has been some development activities and refurbishment of old buildings but it hasn’t really gained any momentum.
“What was needed then, and is needed now, is a vision.”
Urban Economics Managing Director and author of Salisbury Reloaded: A case for Suburban Renewal & Industrial Regeneration, Kerrianne Meulman said Salisbury was uniquely positioned to capitalise on its location, industrial and manufacturing heritage and ‘forgotten’ status to emerge as an innovation district and new knowledge hub for advanced manufacturing.
“Once the province of the State’s rail works, Salisbury became a hub of industry activity when it was selected as the location for munitions manufacturing during the Second World War,” Ms Meulman said.
“During its heyday it employed some 3,000 workers, or almost 100 workers per hectare.
“But by the 1990’s, many of Salisbury’s iconic and ‘saw tooth’ industrial buildings were effectively past their use-by-date and in 2016, only 1,130 workers (25 workers per hectare) in the Salisbury area are actually employed in manufacturing.”
Currently, the Moorooka-Stephens Neighbourhood Plan incorporating the Salisbury precinct provides limited intentions or outcomes for the business centre and land use in the area is primarily zoned as industrial.
Ms Meulman said there were demonstrated examples in Brisbane where allowing flexible land use with the intent of placemaking had paid off (Nundah and Banyo), and international examples which paved the way for regeneration of industrial areas (Ancoats, Manchester) into ‘employment precincts’.
Tract Principal Urban Designer Elli Fisher and her team explored a vision and a master plan concept for Salisbury that responds to new demands of industry and manufacturing, and the needs and lifestyles and aspirations of the talent that comes with that job creation.
The Tract team investigated key catalyst projects that show how Salisbury could be ‘reimagined’ as a vibrant community; celebrating its exports and products to become a place where people can make, sell, live and recreate in one place.
Key catalyst projects would generate new activity and jobs and become destinations at the heart of the precinct. They are connected through high quality streetscaping, improved mobility and wayfinding.
The team highlighted the importance of capturing and building on the stories of the place and the built heritage fabric in developing the master plan and the vision for the future of Salibury.
“This was an exciting project to be part of and it’s easy to see how this centre could come to life with a little bit of coordinated investment and planning focused on a unified vision,” Ms Fisher said.
The Suburban Alliance release of the Salisbury report comes just weeks after the Brisbane Lord Mayor announced budget funding for a new city-wide Suburban Renewal Taskforce.
“What we’ve presented is not a solution or definitive view but a conversation starter. Essentially, we would like to encourage Council to view suburbs like Salisbury not as an ‘industrial area’ but as an ‘employment precinct’ and subsequently amend its town planning intentions for this area to maximise employment opportunities, regardless of the land ‘use’.Salisbury Reimagined
“The new industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 and advanced manufacturing on a digital scale, is coming. Salisbury is ripe and ready to embrace this to become a case study for developing a new world suburb that supports Brisbane’s claim to be a new world city.”
The Suburban Alliance is the only not-for-profit industry group in South East Queensland with a focus on promoting the infrastructure, business or community needs of suburban centres.
The organisation believes suburban business centres can respond relatively quickly and positively to “a little bit of love” in planning and infrastructure terms; and cites Nundah Village as an example of what can be done.
The suburban alliance is hosting an industry breakfast this Wednesday and Thursday for Brisbane planners, developers and architects interested in the Salisbury vision.
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Finally a great vision for Brisbane. If we keep squeezing employment into the tiny CBD we will forever play catch up with solving the congestion and public transport issues.
Salisbury seems to be perfectly suitable to make the first example and hopefully start a trend in other suburbs too. It played an important part in Brisbane history too, perhaps some kind of museum would be interesting and appropriate for that area too.