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What shopping centres can learn from public markets in a post COVID-19 world

James Murray, Principal and co-founder of TANDEM Design Studio has observed the role of micro tenancies in a range of contexts – from his early role in Federation Square, the rise of pop ups in major shopping centres to his practice – working on projects like MONA in Tasmania and a variety of public markets such as Paddy’s in Sydney, Queen Victoria Market and South Melbourne Market. The current situation has James thinking about what inspiration shopping centres might take from markets, while examining the role for micro tenancies within centres in a post COVID-19 world.

Shopping centres have long struggled with achieving a balance between the global and the local. The introduction of micro-tenancies, with a focus on offering business opportunities to local traders, much like in our thriving public markets scene, provides a way to address that imbalance while building community capacity and improving the bottom line. With retail centre income already significantly disrupted by the coronavirus crisis, we currently have a relatively low-risk environment in which to experiment with expanding upon the limited forays retail centres have already taken into this space.