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With the Gold Coast’s economy expanding from construction and hospitality to services and creative jobs, the way industrial land is being used is changing.

What was once predominantly reserved for manufacturing, now art studios, retail and professional services are setting up shop in industrial areas. It might seem like good thing, but it can also have a negative impact by increasing pressure on rent and land value, or impacting the day-to-day operations of other businesses.

To tackle the change, Senior Teaching Fellow of Sustainable Environments and Planning, Ned Wales, and two Bond students joined a task force working on a research project to better understand how industrial precincts are evolving. The ‘Productive Gold Coast’ project is in conjunction with the Gold Coast City Council Planning Department, as well as Griffith University and the Queensland University of Technology.

Bond research assistants, Property major Gabriel Jones, and recent graduate Karen Vigoya, have been working with Ned and taking to the city’s streets to collect real-time data which will inform important decisions regarding the city’s growth, including land use planning policy, business trends and customer spending.

“The study will examine how new businesses are embracing the knowledge economy with start-up and boutique business operations over 10 different industrial areas,” says Ned.

“The Bond University data collection will provide insight into the importance of sense of place and access to essential infrastructure such as transport, fast internet and local niche markets makes seeking more appealing business environments.

“It's a mammoth task but well on its way to achieving innovating ways of understanding urban economics and its relations to place making.”

The research project started in late November 2020 and will continue to June 2021, with more than 150 interviews set to be completed.

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