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Life to Laneways

Lanes and alleyways are undergoing a renaissance.

Previously neglected spaces used mainly for rubbish collection and loading bays, Central Geelong’s laneways are becoming prime real estate. With their intimate scale and lack of noise and traffic, laneways offer an attractive inner-city location for niche businesses as evidenced by Melbourne’s thriving laneway culture.

Now it’s Geelong’s turn. The State Government has provided $1.5 million to reinvigorate Central Geelong’s lanes and alleyways.

The Central Geelong Laneways and Linkages Project aims to uncover the hidden potential of our laneways – providing new spaces for residential and commercial activities and enhanced pedestrian links on north-south routes through Central Geelong.

Currently, our inner city is active mostly during business hours. Streets tend to empty as workers head home for the evening, so the project seeks to extend the operating hours of the city to cultivate a vibrant nightlife.

The Laneways and Linkages Project is an initiative of Vision 2. Vision 2 brings together the Council, the State Government, the Committee for Geelong and Deakin University to develop a shared vision for Central Geelong to revitalise the city over the next 20 years. Residential growth is a major part of the vision for the future of Central Geelong.

The main elements of the Laneways and Linkages Project are:
• Identify lanes that enhance pedestrian movement between key precincts;

• Design initiatives to attract people and businesses in laneways eg. small cafes and bars, wifi hotspots, alfresco areas, niche businesses, fitness tracks;

• Undertake physical improvements to laneways without disturbing the traditional ‘feel’;

• Eliminate or enhance blank walls with artworks or vertical gardens;

• Encourage new buildings to incorporate active street frontages to interact with the lane;

• Work with local businesses, property owners and community organisations to raise the awareness of laneways and support commercial activity;

• Support social and artistic activities and events.

Take the time to explore Geelong’s lanes and alleyways. Already these once forgotten spaces are home to some exciting new businesses with the potential for more to come.

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