The CBD is too good to leave

By Sunny Liu

Having been living in the CBD for the past 10 years, New Zealander Katy Turbitt said she had witnessed many changes in this high-rise village. 

Ms Turbitt said over the 10 years of being a CBD resident, she had noticed the vast city-bound migration among aspiring urban dwellers and the increased availability of restaurants and venues.

“There are definitely a lot more residents in the CBD now compared to 10 years ago,” she said.

“I still remember when I first moved here it was difficult to find a restaurant that was open on Sunday nights. Now the CBD is really buzzing.”

She had been working in the CBD’s hospitality industry before volunteering her time at non-profit gallery and theatre Forty Five Downstairs and eventually being offered a position at this Flinders Lane gallery 20 months ago.

Ms Turbitt said her experiences in hospitality opened up a platform for her to meet variously interesting people.

“Working in hospitality means I’m always surrounded by different people,” she said.

“At the cafe I worked at before, we used get some regulars who both lived and worked in the city and some who frequented the nearby theatres or performers who were in town for their show.”

Ms Turbitt also said not only was the CBD’s residential community very tight-knit, but the hospitality and art communities were also very close.

“When I was working in hospitality in Flinders Lane, a lot of restaurant owners knew each other well. Now working at Forty Five Downstairs, we also work together with other galleries and with a mixture of up-and-coming and established artists,” she said.

Now the communications co-ordinator at the 15-year-old eastern CBD gallery and theatre space, Ms Turbitt said she was happy that she was contributing to the city’s art scene.

“In my own small way, I’m glad that I’m working with local artists and helping them to exhibit their work. And just helping a non-profit organisation is very rewarding,” she said.

“The small team at Forty Five Downstairs is very dedicated. Here we deliver our own productions and offer individual artists the space to showcase their work.”

Ms Turbitt said she thought non-profit galleries and theatres were an important component of the CBD’s environment.

“Forty Five Downstairs is really a unique open space for artists and performers. It’s very versatile and its central location also makes it attractive to residents, workers and visitors.”

At present, Ms Turbitt is thoroughly enjoying her life and career in the CBD. She is also studying arts and cultural management part-time at the University of Melbourne.

Now working, living and studying in the city, Ms Turbitt said she might never leave the city.

“I’ve been so spoilt, being so close to everything. I don’t think I will ever live away from the city,” she said. “I’m lucky to be able to work in the city and to feel that I’m part of it.”

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