Active Spaces in Darebin

The Active Spaces in Darebin program works with real estate agents and property owners to transform areas which have an overabundance of vacant shops, graffiti tagging and bill posters, into economically stimulated and culturally charged destinations.

We do this by welcoming and incubating a range of creative business options in vacant shops and properties, encouraging short term occupancy, which lead to long term leases.

The program has worked with a broad range of creative business options in vacant shops & properties including: retail, not for profit projects, studio spaces, product designers, workshops, rehearsal spaces, art exhibitions, shop window galleries, installations and performances.

After nearly three years, we have found that short term occupancy allows time for a small business to trial its business idea to determine if it is sustainable, and also allows time to conduct one off creative projects in otherwise vacant properties, while at the same time, stimulating the space and the economy around it.

The program supports: the process of negotiating the rent with the property owner/real estate agent; providing a short term lease agreement; assisting in sourcing a vacant property; sourcing public liability insurance; information about other expected costs and other Council department requirements; marketing and promotional opportunities.

Council has identified specific ‘priority areas’ which are in high need of street activation. We encourage you to visualise your new creative business idea in one of these areas:

  • Preston – Along High Street from Dundas to Murray Road.
  • Reservoir – Oakhill Village: on Plenty Rd, either side of Tyler St.

Up until May 2015 the Program has facilitated a total of 19 short term leases: 10 short term leases and 9 short term leases which led into long term leases. This has generated over 60 jobs, over $80,000 in rent for landlords of vacant shops, 27 print and online media articles and 1,000 Facebook followers.  Over 53 artists have exhibited their artworks in vacant shop windows.

Benefits to our community:

  • The Program was a finalist in the 2013 & 2014 EDA National Awards for Economic Development Excellence in Business and Industry.
  • In 2014 the Program won the Mainstreet Australia Award for Mainstreet Activation.
  • In February 2015 the Program won an LGPro Award for Excellence for a Service Delivery Initiative.

How to get involved:

Read the Information Sheet and contact us by phone, email or Facebook and have a conversation with us about your creative project or business idea.

Further Information 

Brodie Butler-Robey
Business DevelopmentPh: 8470 8480
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Brodie Butler-Robey Business Development- City of Darebin Ph: 8470 8480 Email: or visit the Facebook page.


Darebin City Council
274 Gower St, Preston Victoria 3072

Phone: (03) 8470 8888
Fax: (03) 8470 8888