How Adelaide, Australia revitalized itself through “placemaking”

Not long ago, this city on the South Australia coast was a 9-to-5 town, where restaurants catering to suburban commuters closed once lunch was served.

As the latest UK edition of National Geographic Traveler magazine put it, residents of Adelaideregarded their town as a wallflower, ignored by visitors who prefer the long-legged hotties in the eastern states.”

But these days, Adelaide has a new energy flowing in its streets, both day and night. The same article calls Adelaide today “‘sassy,’ ‘wicked-sexy’ and “happ-a-NIN’.” Adelaide made recent “top destinations” lists put together by the New York Times and Lonely Planet. In March, London’s Sunday Times placed Adelaide number one on its list of the best places to live in the world.

A number of factors have contributed to Adelaide’s turnaround. But to a remarkable degree, Adelaide’s transformation is the product of simple and inexpensive strategies for activating its public spaces.

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