Invercargill city should maximise on function (for the money spent), encourage modular and relocatable designs – including containers, small retail, and food modules, so reformatting ground plans is easy. This allows adaption, as the popularity of a zone increases.
Our retail space will need to go through some major adaptions over time; as will the work environments. Work at home is going to rapidly change from a short-term fix to the preferred method. Even in the coming months of 2020, the job search market will change, to include considerations for dwellings, and Southland workers are likely to follow the international trend of working in a local community business hub, rather than the company office.
Invercargill can offer retail with an exciting experience, touch and feel – but to pull this off, spaces and traffic flow will be need to be re-designed. Retail storefronts could move from being important for getting attention, to being the main attraction. Frontages that have far less space behind them, will be in much higher demand than they have been in the past. Few of these exist at present because the previous understanding was that retail businesses demand shop floor space. Now they will be more interested in exhibiting products in a vertical area, and providing ways of connecting with off-site services. Purchased items will be sent from a centralised warehouse. This means that shop owners will require a more ‘corridor type of layout [think super market isles, but behind glass] – staffed by a few well trained (expert) servers, and no onsite selling of the display items.
This will translate in to a much higher population of brands and businesses within a given commercial precinct. Shoppers will not need to take carrying devices like trolleys, trundlers, bags, cars, bikes with trailers, etc.
Is it possible for the council to do the development in such a way that increases the wellbeing of rate payers, so the rates have a chance of going down rather than up. While it is clear that private investors are highly influential in the project, Invercargill’s developments need strong support from the community.
The eating behaviours of Invercargill locals and visitors will change with the right environment. They will still want to go out, and assemble in groups, but this will be done in different ways.