Midland Reporter - - Opinion - PETER FORREST, Kala­munda.

TO give credit where credit is un­doubt­edly due, the new own­ers of the For­rest­field Fo­rum com­plex have over the past two years trans­formed this cen­tral fo­cus of com­mu­nity ac­tiv­ity out of all recog­ni­tion from a com­mu­nity per­spec­tive.

It is now a bright, wel­com­ing shop­ping cen­tre that is both vis­ually and func­tion­ally wel­com­ing and its smart, colour­ful pre­sen­ta­tion is invit­ing and with ob­vi­ously en­hanced ‘so­cia­bil­ity’.

The in­creased va­ri­ety of mainly open-frontage re­tail premises, from the many small re­tail out­lets to the large su­per­mar­kets, makes the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence of shop­ping and lin­ger­ing there now a gen­uine plea­sure.

Com­mu­nal so­cia­bil­ity is en­cour­aged, not least by the very spa­cious new Dome cafe opened a cou­ple of weeks ago, but also by the many small in­ter­nal de­sign co-or­di­na­tion fea­tures.

A shaded chil­dren’s play area now links what used to be two sep­a­rate and rather drab groups of stores. This re­fresh­ing ini­tia­tive, that some might de­scribe in new pop­ulist terms as a ‘commu- nity hub’, works well be­cause it has ob­vi­ously ben­e­fited con­cep­tu­ally from pro­fes­sional ar­chi­tec­tural in­put.

This sort of de­sign/plan­ning ini­tia­tive that thought­fully analy­ses the pur­poses peo­ple nat­u­rally have in their daily lives and pro­vides rel­e­vant fa­cil­i­ties in a pleas­ant en­vi­ron­ment to help them to so­cialise is ob­vi­ously sorely needed, for in­stance in Kala­munda and Les­mur­die, where unimag­i­na­tive com­mu­nity-dis­en­gaged ‘statu­tory plan­ning’ alone has so far pre­vailed.

The Kala­munda dis­trict (‘vil­lage’) cen­tre has in con­trast, for ex­am­ple, re­cently de­scended into func­tion­ally and vis­ually un­co­or­di­nated anti-so­cial chaos, with build­ings of all shapes, sizes and pur­poses mixed to­gether, only re­lieved by

PO Box 352, Mid­land WA 6936 or 12, Old Great North­ern High­way, Mid­land 9237 1900 mkr@com­mu­ni­tynews.com.au the re­cent tran­si­tory week­end mar­kets and poorly lo­cated park­ing.

Hope­fully, how­ever, some cre­atively at­trac­tive and in­tel­li­gently de­signed ‘com­mu­nity hub’ con­cept may emerge in the new For­rest­field North de­vel­op­ment next to the new rail­way sta­tion, ex­pected by 2020.

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