In 2012, a group of concerned community members banded together to form the Maroochydore Revitalisation Association in the region known as the Sunshine Coast, a sub-tropical coastal township that is Australia’s 6th largest populated area. MRA formed in response to the severe disinvestment facing the Maroochydore town centre; at the time, there was an average of 8 empty storefronts on the main two streets as more than 30 independent businesses had closed down in the last five years. MRA believed that one way to regenerate the area was to create experiences and destinations within its streets. Organized entirely by volunteers, MRA hosted an alleyway pop-up bar called Captain and the Duke to attract nearby office workers on a Friday night. Armed with a small budget, volunteers built the bar furniture out of pallets and local street artists created art to enhance the alley’s atmosphere. The pop-up saw such popularity that Captain and the Duke became a monthly occurrence in various local alleys and buildings. MRA eventually raised enough funds through the pop-up bar to fund its 2015 Economic Development Plan which it presented to the local Council to prove that the area was not a ghost town, but was in fact a place cared for by the local community. The area was then included in the local government’s development plan as a dedicated entertainment precinct worthy of funding and official inclusion in broader planning legislation and policy. MRA has since proposed a Business Improvement Levy (BID) and is waiting on its approval. In the last three years the area has welcomed over 25 new businesses and this growth spurt has generated an estimated $34 million dollars in the area. MRA’s success has demonstrated the power of community organizing in LQC, as well as the potential long-term changes to a community spurred by LQC placemaking.
The pop-up bar was constructed mostly with wooden pallets.
Prior to its inaugural pop-up, Captain and the Duke took a few months from idea to execution. Now, it occurs once per month for an evening.
Backed primarily by volunteer labor, Captain and the Duke cost just a few thousand dollars to put on.
*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.
On April 22nd, Milwaukee was announced as one of the six 2015 Heart of the Community cities. Over the next six months, the local project team and PPS used “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper” (LQC) Placemaking principles to ensure that the The Spot 4MKE continued to be a collaborative, inclusive, and community-led project.