Greensborough Comes Alive!

10 December 2013 | Posted in: News

Greensborough Comes Alive is set to bring new life into the Greensborough Town Centre

Calling all creatives in the Greensborough area to take part in this project

Renew Australia has been commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce to run a Renew-style initiative similar to that of Renew Newcastle or the Docklands Spaces project. Greensborough Comes Alive will activate some of the currently underused and vacant spaces within the Centre.

Cindy Plowman, Renew Australia, said: “The town centre already has a lot to offer; it’s active during the day and night and has good public transport access.”

“What this initiative will do is bring people onto the street and encourage people to travel the length of Grimshaw and Main Streets. Recent and proposed developments will continue to bring new people to the area. We just need to translate this into foot traffic along the street,” she said.

The project will fill some of the gaps along Grimshaw and Main Streets by activating vacant spaces with creative enterprises and independent local initiatives.

Four spaces have already been secured for use in the project, including two owned by Banyule City Council at 61 and 63 Main Street.  The Mayor of Banyule, Cr Craig Langdon, said it was a great initiative.

“We fully support the Chamber of Commerce in its efforts to promote the Greensborough shopping centre, attract new tenancies and support local businesses,” Cr Langdon said. “The other benefit for us is that our properties are kept in good condition and are used by the community while generating interest in longer term tenancies.”

Renew Australia is now seeking makers, artists, designers, photographers, printmakers, painters, illustrators, architects, milliners, jewellers, publishers, laptop businesses, animators, video or music makers, and other creative types. This is a low cost opportunity to create a shop, gallery, studio, or collaborative workspace at participating properties in the Greensborough Town Centre.

This is your chance to be part of a growing “Renew” creative movement to promote local economic, cultural and community development, the arts and creative industries across Australia and to get a space to try out your own creative idea.

Expressions of interests are now open. Spaces are available from early December 2013. Visit

If you still have any questions contact us via email at [email protected].

Expressions of Interest for the first round of pilot projects should be submitted via the online application form on the website by 5pm on 14 December 2013.


Renew Australia comes to Sydney with Renew Leichhardt

21 October 2013 | Posted in: News

Renew Australia is pleased to announce the launch of our Sydney office and our first Sydney based project: Renew Leichhardt.

For the last few months we have been working with the team at Leichhardt Council to develop a plan for the area’s empty shop and office spaces. We’ve held two public meetings, we’ve met with property owners, we’ve secured a few properties in Norton Street and in the Italian Forum are we are now ready to roll out the first phase of the Renew Sydney program!

A full web site and local campaign are coming soon but we are calling for expressions of interest right now. We aim to have the first projects in by Christmas and continue to add projects throughout the new year.

If you are interested in being part of the first wave of Renew Leichhardt projects then you need to get a proposal to us by the 8th of November. The first group of spaces are mostly small retail spaces. They would suit makers, craftspeople, galleries, fashion design and other similar uses but don’t be afraid to suggest something a little out of the box. Make sure you read our Renew Leichhardt FAQ if you are interested in applying.

We are very excited to be coming to Sydney and hope this is the first of many projects and opportunities in greater Sydney for Renew Australia! If you want to make sure you know more about these and other Renew Australia opportunities in Sydney then make sure you subscribe to our E-News, and follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Also if you’re in other local government areas in Sydney and you’d like to encourage Renew projects in your area then feel free to drop our new Sydney team a line: sydney [at] and we can see what we can do.

Marcus Westbury talks iterative cities, creative initiative and why making cities work for people without capital is a good idea

10 September 2013 | Posted in: News

Marcus Westbury was the recent guest speaker at Creative Mornings Melbourne.

Federal funding announced for Renew Australia!

13 August 2013 | Posted in: News

Great news in Renew Australia land! The Federal Government, through Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, have announced today that they will provide $300,000 of funding over the next three years to Renew Australia to support its work in community development and creative projects .

Federal funding will support Renew Australia’s growth and expansion into regional and remote centres and into the suburbs of major cities. This funding will assist Renew Australia to provide practical support including legal advice, insurance and advocacy to interested individuals and groups. This is the first funding that has been made available to support the national roll out of Renew schemes.

“This funding is the first government funding we have been offered to support the national roll out of the Renew Australia model,” Renew Australia founder and director Marcus Westbury said, “it will make a major difference in our ability to respond to and to practically support interest from communities across the country.”

Having started with Renew Newcastle there are already successful Renew based and inspired schemes already running in places such as Adelaide, Melbourne, Parramatta and Port Adelaide.

Over the last 12 months Renew Australia has been talking to and working with communities from every state of Australia including Leichhardt, Nowra, Bega, Merimbula, Eden, Frankston, Ballarat, Burnie, Devenport, Launceston, Moss Vale, Mildura, Albany, Fremantle, Moreton Bay, Katoomba and the Blue Mountains, Nambour, Moreland, Maitland, Wollongong, Redcliffe, Point Cook,  Geelong and many more about establishing local empty space activation programs.

Despite extremely limited resources the Renew model has spread across the country to launch hundreds of creative projects including galleries, shops and studios in privately owned buildings that were empty, disused or vandalised. The Renew model is a creative yet effective way to address the problem of empty buildings that plague so many cities and towns while also stimulating economic and community development. As well as creating exciting new opportunities for our creative industries, the Renew model is dramatically improving the amenity of local communities, boosting community confidence and jobs. 

“We are very pleased to learn that the funding for Renew Australia is already included in the Budget and hope that all sides of politics, all candidates and local communities will recognise the value — and potential value — of our work in local communities across Australia,” Mr Westbury said.

The map at the top of this post shows communities that have tried or are developing Renew type empty space programs (in blue), that have met with or visited Renew Newcastle or Renew Australia (green) or have contacted us requesting support (yellow). 

Special Event: The Problems with Property forum August 26th Loop Bar Melbourne

5 August 2013 | Posted in: News

Australian’s for Affordable Housing, Prosper Australia and Renew Australia present

The Problems with Property

Is Australia’s property market permanently broken? House prices are over-inflated, rents are unaffordable and thousands of shops and offices sit empty. How have we done this to our property markets and what can we do about it?

Join Australians for Affordable Housing‘s Joel Pringle, Prosper Australia‘s Karl Fitzgerald and Marcus Westbury from Renew Australia for a lively debate and discussion of the problems of property.

Monday August 26th
6.30 – 8pm
Loop Bar, 23 Meyers Place, Melb

The forum is free but to be assured of a place please RSVP here.

How Can We Help You?

9 April 2013 | Posted in: News

Renew Australia would like to measure the level of interest and need in the community to facilitate Renew initiatives across Australia.

Are you interested in starting your own Renew initiative? Or do you have a main street that is need of some help? We’d love to hear from you via this survey.

Survey applications close 30 April, 2013.

Creating Spaces Conference Wrap-Up

9 April 2013 | Posted in: News

L-R Coralie Winn & Ryan Reynolds of GapFiller Christchurch, Marcus Westbury of Renew Australia and Dan Thompson from UK’s Empty Shops Network.

Renew Australia’s Creating Spaces Conference, held in Newcastle NSW, 12-14 March, brought together a diverse range of regional-based community leaders, councils, arts and economic development professionals from across Australia who are passionate about renewal and creativity, and interested in reactivating spaces within their own communities.

From local champions of community, to international empty shop activators, the conference saw a collision of creative ideas for spaces and some inspiring examples of projects that are activating spaces and communities around the world.

To find out what went on at Creating Spaces, head to the summary pages under the Creating Spaces tab above, or the direct links below:

Conference Summary – Day 1

Conference Summary – Day 2

Conference Summary – Day 3

Attendees during Marcus Westbury’s keynote address.

Creating Spaces

15 February 2013 | Posted in: News


Registrations are filling up fast so don’t delay securing your spot at Creating Spaces Regional Renewal Conference.

Register before Friday 22 February and save $150 per ticket.

To register now and view the full schedule go to

Still trying to decide if you should attend Creating Spaces Conference? Here’s a quick reminder of some of the many reasons to join us:

Hear first-hand from people who have imagined, executed, and inspired others with their space activation projects, such as:

Renew Newcastle
Gap Filler (NZ)
Empty Shops Network (UK)
Pop-Up Parramatta
Renew Adelaide

Network with individuals and groups from all around Australia activating otherwise empty spaces with creative projects.

Build your foundation knowledge with best practice space activation so you can initiate and build similar projects in your own community. Workshops include:

+ The Case for Creating Spaces
+ Empty Space Reconaissance
+ Finding & Working with Property Owners
+ The Necessary Evils: Safety, Compliance, Legals & Insurance
+ Low Budget Conversions
+ Perfect Match: Projects & Spaces
+ Nurturing Creatives
+ Moving Towards Better Regulation
+ Strategic Partnerships
+ Leading From Local Government
+ Managing Expectations

Don’t delay! Register at today.



22 January 2013 | Posted in: News


Renew Australia hits the road with a tour of most capital cities to teach you the nuts and bolts of how to transform empty spaces in your community.

Making the most of empty spaces with creative enterprise is an introduction workshop for anyone interested in turning an empty space into something productive.

Presented by Marcus Westbury, founder of Renew Newcastle and Renew Australia, each day-long event will ensure you leave with an understanding of how to link enterprise with empty spaces – from finding creatives to gaining the support of landlords and everything in between.


Perth – 15 April

For more information and to secure before the early bird rate closes, book now at:  Perth workshop

Download flyer here.

Adelaide – 18 April

For more information and to secure before the early bird rate closes, book now at:  Adelaide workshop

Download flyer here.



+ Early bird special: $399 (includes lunch)

+ Full price: $450

 For more information and to secure early bird rates, click on the appropriate links above.

Creating Space Conference – Subsidy Applications Now Open

29 November 2012 | Posted in: News

Did you hear the exciting news? The Hon Minister Simon Crean announced funding for Renew Australia to organise a community renewal conference in Newcastle in March 2013.

Best news of all? We have a handful of fully subsidised places for community leaders who want to take activating empty spaces in their town to the next level!

Creating Spaces Conference will bring together regional-based community leaders from across Australia who are passionate about renewal and creativity, and interested in reactivating spaces within their own communities.

Whether you are an individual with drive to activate empty spaces in your home town or a local government employee charged with reinventing redundant spaces in your town centre, a member of a  main street organisation, in property development, or another enterprise involved in the activation of spaces, this conference is for you.

As an attendee you will sit down with people who have imagined, executed, and inspired others with their space activation projects, such as Renew Newcastle, Gap Filler (Christchurch, NZ) and Empty Shops Network (UK).

You will learn the impact of creative activation of empty spaces in previously struggling town centres, and be introduced to essential DIY tools and strategies to build creative and engaging spaces and town centre activation.

Most importantly you will leave with inspiration and foundation knowledge to initiate and build similar projects in your own community.

Join your urban renewal peers, and an inspiring group of people involved in successful space activation projects, between 12-14 March 2013 at Newcastle City Hall.

The schedule includes keynote speakers, group workshops, panels, a walking tour to see Renew Newcastle projects, lunches and evening receptions.

Creating Spaces Conference is only possible due to the support of the Australian Government’s Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Art and Sport.



+ Early bird rate, to 18 February 2013 – $495

+ General registration, 19 February 2013 onwards – $645

To learn more about the schedule, speakers and to register your position head to the Conference website now:


To reward and enable inspirational regional community-based leaders to take their renewal initiatives further we are looking for regional community-based leaders who have demonstrated not-for-profit community renewal initiative in their local area voluntarily (not part of paid employment) to apply for a number of fully subsidised places.

Applications close Monday 14 January 2013.

For more details on selection criteria and how to apply head to: