Pop up with a leg up?

I just read this article on WAToday about the uncertain future of a very popular food truck frequenting a Perth beach. Apparently a neighbour(s?) is complaining about a loss of amenity. The City of Freo are in support of food trucks and pop-up ventures generally and so I’m sure will be doing what they can to ease the concerns rather than tell the purveyor of delicious mexican treats to move along, plunging the quiet beach back into solitude.

Leighton Beach

I’ve been thinking recently about pop-ups and wonderful transient things like food trucks, they are such a fantastic placemaking tool but is it something that we, as planners and placemakers, can actively influence? How much interference is possible before it becomes contrived and forced. These things are so beautiful because they occur naturally.

In the situation at Lieghton Beach the major compliant is that the generator makes a buzzing noise (probably not the actual complaint but “get off my lawn!” isn’t a viable one). Perhaps the City of Fremantle could install some power access at the beach, with a key for access to be provided with the health/licensing permission as required? No more noise. Happy Mr Neighbour? How about some more rubbish bins? Just to make it as easy as possible to leave no trace.

For Local Government Placemakers a light touch is crucial. Too heavy-handed and you’ll get board entrepeneurs and residents complaining. Provide gentle encouragement, make it easy and open, be available. People want to perch on a ledge or sit on the grass, businesses want to be creative and push the boundaries, it’s what makes it fun.

Don’t plan for un-plannable things. That is what makes them so valuable to making great places.

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