Friday, 19 October 2012

Some lessons for Freo from the Show

My last post about my nephew's first visit to the Royal Show got me thinking about whether or not there were any lessons that could be gleaned for Freo. After thinking about it for a couple of days I've come up with a few, which I thought that I'd share with Freo Doctor Blog readers.

Lesson 1: Seeing Freo through the eyes of a child

The single best thing about hanging out with Byron at the Show was being able to get an appreciation of the world through his eyes.

I think that this is a great lesson for Freo. Happy and engaged kids means happy parents, which means memorable experiences. If families are having them in Freo then they're going to keep coming back. Lately my wife and I have noticed this very thing happening at the Fremantle Markets. Petting zoos, pianos, people walking around on stilts in costumes, entertainers making balloon shapes... They all have one thing in common. They invite kids (and adults) to engage and have a bit of fun.

The other weekend my wife and I accompanied Byron to a pirate themed 5 year old birthday party. It was a hoot. All of the kids bar none all loved the bubble making toys that they received at the end of a treasure hunt. It got me thinking how cool it would be if word got out that there was some kind of bubble making device at Kings Square or the Esplanade or Bathers Beach.

Speaking of introducing fun, check out this cool website. I particularly like the world's deepest bin and the piano staircase ideas.

Lesson 2: Signage gives people an excuse to go to a destination

One thing that I did notice about the Show is that the signage could have been better. It probably meant that we missed out on certain activities and interesting places to visit.

It is a good thing that the City is launching Rea series of precinct focused signage. It'll also be important to think about a more micro approach as well. For example, little signs letting people know that the Round House is only a 2 minute walk in that direction. We are regularly approached by tourists looking for the Maritime Museum.

I like this approach that was sneakily tried in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Micro wayfinding at Raleigh via
I feel it gives people an excuse to check out a destination knowing that it isn't that far away.

Lesson 3: Food trucks

It's been a while since I last went to the Show and I'd forgotten the bevy of food options that were available. Freo Doctor Blog readers will appreciate that I enjoy my food. They'll also appreciate that food is probably the most crucial aspect of attracting people to an area. A classic example is how Gypsy Tapas has transformed its little part of Freo. All of the food vans at the Show got me thinking about how food trucks have become really popular around the United States.

Food trucks offer a great opportunity for Freo to expand on its array of food options. One of the benefits of Freo becoming food truck friendly is that they provide an opportunity for emerging food entrepreneurs to test themselves before committing to a more permanent arrangement.

A food truck in Sydney via
As well as providing an entry point into someone owning their business, Freo gets to maximise its awesomeness by creating a virtuous cycle. Foot traffic: tick. Active, festive streets: tick, tick. Economic vitality: Boom tick.


  1. I really like your ideas Michael.
    And this is a really good one.

  2. This contribution to Fremantle and others of yours I have read, Michael, give me hope. In a long (and it will be longer, by command)experience of the world, there is one thing I have ascertained that has helped me get through and turn all experiences into useful and positive ones. In short it is, that nothing that happens to you is wasted, that there is always something that can be gained, if you have the wit and imagination to find it.