- Apple announced that it will demolish an indigenous cultural center for a new flagship store at Federation Square, a public plaza in Melbourne, Australia.
- Critics of the plan say that it goes against the intended purpose of the square as a public space, free of commercial interests.
- In a statement over the weekend, Fed Square Pty Ltd, the company that manages the plaza, defended the plans.
At the iPhone X launch event in late 2017, Apple made another big announcement. In 2018, it will begin making over hundreds of stores into “town squares.” Apple has a nebulous definition of the phrase “town square,” using it to refer to stores where people can participate in free classes, like photographing, producing music, and editing with iPhones.
In Melbourne, Australia, Apple is taking the town square idea one step further. The company is taking over Federation Square, a public plaza, to build a flagship store.
Set to open in 2020, the two-story Apple store will replace the Koorie Heritage Trust, an indigenous cultural center inside the Yarra Building that will need to relocate. The project will also create approximately 5,380 square feet of public space and attract approximately 2 million more people annually to the square, according to Fed Square Pty Ltd.
The plan has caused outrage among some residents, who say the local government didn’t consult the public before Apple signed the lease. Citing “wide-ranging social and economic benefits” for Melbourne, Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne said on Saturday it was in the city’s best interest to fast-track Apple’s development plans.
A new group called Citizens of Melbourne against Apple Federation Square has called the government’s deal with Apple “shady.” An online petition against the store, created in late December, has garnered more than 49,000 signatures. When it Read More Here