Does variety kill or help Lygon Street?

I am here to spark a debate:

Lygon Street has long been known as the famous Italian precinct of Melbourne.

The Melbourne City Council actually have a specific local planning provisions addressing the Lygon Street Shopping precinct (as in keeping development and use inline with its Italian character).

However, if you are familiar enough with the area, you can notice that more and more of the new shops/places/restaurants are not of Italian characters at all. For example, FCUK (Foreign Chain Store), Lygon Court (Arcade style instead of having shop frontage immediately to the street, essentially an American influenced/suburbanised.), and exotic restaurants instead of Italian e.g. Thai restaurants starting to proliferate near the city-end of Lygon Street.

While someone can argue that these different uses and developments bring more different kind of people to the area, one could also argue that these new uses and developments fundamentally conflict with the Italian character of the precinct.

So which house do you belong to – ‘kills the Italian character’ or ‘variety helps to bring more people in the area’?

Speak UP!

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1 Comment so far

  1. Neil (unregistered) on February 15th, 2007 @ 2:47 pm

    The Carlton residents association are in a push to increase the variety of business along that strip. They want less restaurants and more variety of other types of merchants. Lygon Street has kept its Italian decor even though the shops have changed throughout the years.

    FCUK and the Thai restaurants are still conforming to Carlton’s Victorian style architecture. Lygon has always had a variety of Non-Italian shops and I don’t see anything different happening in the last few years other than an addition of a lot of gelati shops.

    Lemongrass, crnr of Pelham St, is one of the highest praised Thai restaurants in Melbourne and has been there for years. If Lygon Street were in some eastern suburb, I think there would be more of a case but Carlton will be dominated by students and its edge of the city location, making rent in high demand.

    If I see another Azzuri World Cup poster on the street, I might vomit.

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