The Adelaide City Council has recently released a Master Plan for the Victoria Square’s regeneration, recognising that, over the past decade, the growing dominance of vehicle traffic through the Square, coupled with a focus on development elsewhere in the CBD, have led to a deterioration in the prominence and attractiveness of the Square.
The released Master Plan, available via www.adelaidecitycouncil.com.au, incorporates a number of key elements such as an Indigenous cultural centre, a stage area for performances, big screens, shaded walkways, exquisite gardens, a cafe and outdoor kiosk, bicycle hub, and open grass areas. It is intended that the regenerated Square will cater for many major events and encourage the involvement of government bodies and the Kaurna community.
SGS Economics & Planning was engaged to provide an economic assessment of the Master Plan, recognising that significant public funding would be required for delivery. Such an assessment is integral information for guiding state and federal treasury funding decisions. It contrasts the outcomes generated under a business-as-usual scenario – in this case, no government intervention – compared with the regeneration scenario, and subsequently assesses triple bottom line costs and benefits.
In undertaking this task, SGS highlighted that it would be the performance of the surrounding precinct that would underpin the benefits conferred on South Australia. That is, the precinct’s uses and intensity of activity (eg visitation, population and employment levels) would drive community contributions, not just what happens in the Square itself.
By taking such a broad and systems-based approach, SGS was able to demonstrate how the public works incorporated in the Master Plan will provide a sound return on community capital, rendering it a justified public expense and an important investment in metropolitan productivity.