LA TROBE University students have unveiled plans to make your visits to Bendigo's city centre even better once the pandemic is gone.
Eleven students taking part in the university's innovative CityStudio program have begun testing ideas with the public.
All have been inspired by a city centre rebuilding during the coronavirus recovery, course coordinator Melissa Kennedy said.
"We're in this period of transition from more temporary outdoor dining options. There's now this rush to make those sorts of ideas more permanent," she said.
In Lyttleton Terrace, a team of students have been prototyping pop-up seating for takeaway businesses after students noticed people with takeaway food had too few places to sit.
In Bull Street, a separate group has created a chalk mural on a wall and has been getting passers-by to give their thoughts on what permanent changes they'd like to see for outdoor dining.
Meanwhile, students David Maras and Lachie Saunders prepared for a round table on Hargreaves Mall's so-called "lanterns" - the former toilets that the City of Greater Bendigo wants to turn into pop-up business spaces.
The pair want community groups and the council to bolster conversations on the lanterns and uncover any gaps in communications.
Mr Maras said it was exciting to be part of a project that would help groups improve the Mall's shade and vibrancy. Both are goals the council also wants to work on.
"Coming out the other side, there might be some ideas about how different organisations can communicate and help the community be that driving force for plans," Mr Maras said.
He said the council had given the pair lots of access to help shape their thinking about the round table, including sharing details of the plans already in train for the Mall.
Hargreaves Mall has triggered strong reactions over its 39 year history, especially since a redesign a little over a decade ago.
Some people see it as a lost opportunity, others as a spring board and municipal focal point.
"Going off those specific interpretations, it's either a half-full or half-empty cup, isn't it?" Mr Saunders said.
"From my perspective, it's an area that's a bit of a blank canvas. There are people who say it's a place where nothing really seems to go on but I see it as an area that can be the heart, soul and identity of Bendigo."
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