HIRST PROJECTS

Hoping the trend for hubs is over... — 11 July 2017, Sally Hirst
Education hubs, work hubs, activity hubs...do we need another space that is called a hub, or is it gaining traction as a word that is universal, like museum or gallery?

Hubs are now ubiquitous. When I hear the word, used to describe a new venue or community centre. I think "Oh please, not another one!". But I can understand why the word is so popular. It's such a useful word. The hub is the heart, the focus, the nucleus. Hubs are centres, and they are active. Hubs also suggest there is more, they are just a starting point. There are spokes. So leave the hub and you can discover something new. But hubs draw you back again - great, just what everyone is looking for, return visitation. And the technical definition is even better. Hubs contain multiple ports. They allow people to connect, over a network.

So, we were reluctant to change the name of a place which we are developing in Hobart, Tasmania. We are testing the idea of a Visitor Centre at the Springs, on kunanyi/Mt Wellington. The Springs is a marvellous place, it's different every time you visit and many wonderful walks commence there . The Council set out the Brief to do a Feasibility Study for a Visitor Centre. But every time we talked to people about it they mistook the idea for a Visitor Information Centre - which meant something different to what the Council imagined. 

It's a challenge, finding a name for a new facility, even at the concept stage (after all, we are not branding specialists), especially these days when many community spaces have multiple functions (but are not multi-function - that means something different!). These spaces can include information centres, interpretive centres, cafes, function venues, shops, galleries and studios. They can send you out better informed and wanting to discover more.

I think that's why I have stopped resisting the word hub. 

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