The results of recent research into Civic confirms what we already know: Canberrans love our city but feel its centre is ripe for renovation.
Transforming Canberra's City Centre, commissioned by Canberra CBD Ltd and conducted by KREAB Research, found Canberrans are hungry for change.
Through discussion groups and an online poll, KREAB canvassed the views of more than 400 Canberra residents to find out how they felt about Civic and where our collective efforts should be spent.
Among those ideas with strong support, the refurbishment of the Sydney and Melbourne buildings, adaptation of underused buildings and investment in Garema Place were seen as three of the best ways to revive our failing heart.
While Canberrans are keen to see the revitalisation of Braddon and New Acton replicated in Civic, views were mixed on introducing more high-density residential living.
Those surveyed also questioned whether a major tourist attraction in Civic would add value. Moving the bus interchange, while acknowledged as a current eyesore, was not considered a high priority, and opening up City Walk to cars had a low level of support.
The research underscores a simple truth: people want more than just marketing campaigns.
"While the ACT government needs to articulate the vision, it is up to business to drive the change," the report advised.
Next week, Canberra's leading business groups are hosting the CBD Forum to identify the essence of our unique identity, and to shape our city around that.
The CBD Forum, jointly hosted by the Property Council of Australia, the Canberra Business Chamber and Canberra CBD Ltd, will bring together some of the country's foremost designers, economists, planners and policymakers to unpack the challenges and identify the opportunities for Civic.
While Canberrans are deeply proud of our unique city, we aren't blind to the obstacles we face. It's time to roll up our sleeves and get started on a plan that enhances Civic's individuality, restores its heritage and injects new life and energy into Canberra's heart.
Catherine Carter is ACT executive director of the Property Council of Australia