Perhaps as a result of collective soul searching inspired by the centenary, much of the debate about planning the future of Canberra in recent times has focused on the big picture visions - what we want our city to look like when it turns 200, and how we can better connect with the lake while reinvigorating the city centre.
But in looking forward it is also important to reflect on the heritage of the city, the aspects that make it unique and are at risk of being lost in the rush to build the future.
Which is why the announcement during the week of upgrades to local shops at Charnwood, Griffith and Theodore will be welcomed by residents of those suburbs.
Often perplexing to outsiders, one of Canberra's great charms has always been the way its suburbs were built around the local shops. Driving though apparently suburban arterial roads can reveal a local bike store, an intimate cafe serving some of the best meals and coffee in town, or a deli worth crossing postcodes to visit.
While often little more than a modest supermarket, service station and perhaps a hairdresser, they became important community hubs during the evolution of the city and were highly valued by those who used them.
Sadly, over recent decades, a number of these local shops have either closed, struggled to find enough tenants, or suffered the inevitable draw of larger group centres, making survival much harder for the small business owners who for years had served their local communities.
The nature of the way we shop has changed. Instead of buying daily groceries at the corner store on our way home from work, many of us drive to large chain supermarkets in malls in the town centres or big box discount retailers in Fyshwick. This has placed a strain on suburban small businesses, unable to offer the deep discounts of their larger national and international competitors.
The most visible evidence of the decline has been the shrinking number of local service stations in Canberra, put under huge squeeze by the entrance of Coles and Woolworths shopper dockets into the local market.
Yet despite all the downsides, local shops offer many competitive advantages that are worth considering before we write them off as a relic of Canberra's past. They offer convenience, local produce in contrast to the increasingly limited selection of house brands offered by larger supermarkets, and a relationship to the local store they are unable to find in larger centres.
But perhaps their greatest value they offer is in bringing the community together. One of the biggest successes of the Centenary program was the Party at the Shops events, which drew huge crowds out of the suburbs for celebrations of local neighbourhoods across the city. So successful was the program it was extended and appears likely to become an annual fixture.
Local shops can also help reduce dependence on cars and public transport as the government seeks ways to reduce pollution and make our city more livable.
The inclusion of community spaces for events is a welcome addition to the most recent round of shop upgrades. The ACT government need to resist the obvious temptation to sell off high-value land at struggling local shops. Once gone, those spaces are gone for good, leaving the entire suburb worse off.
As our population increases and medium density becomes the norm, local shops that may once have struggled for business may find their time will come again as more and more residents discover the benefits they offer.
In our quest to modernise and become a mature city, we need to ensure we do not focus solely on economics and lose the things that make our home special. The local shops may well have their time in the sun again, and investing in their upkeep is an investment in the community worth making.