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March 7, 2019

A city designed for life

A city in a park, Adelaide's unique design realises its full potential during March when visitors from around the world, university students and entrepreneurs transform our park lands and CBD into the best place to live, work, play and study.

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  • Images 1-2: Andrè Castellucci
  • Images 3-5: Catherine Leo

“Carnival has just finished in Rio De Janiero,” says Fringe performer Helena Bittencourt. “Normally, when I’m away from Rio during Carnival I am sad – I feel sad – but not this time. Adelaide is a true festival – we’re having so much fun here.”

We’re talking to Helena on her +55 Brazilian What’sApp phone number even though she’s just down the road at The Garden of Unearthly Delights. Helena is half way through her season performing LIFE, The Show!


This article was created in collaboration with the City of Adelaide to celebrate the unique aspects of Adelaide’s design and the quality of life it perpetuates. Read more about Adelaide – Designed for life here.

“I, personally, love it here,” says Helena of her park lands workplace. “It’s very enchanting coming to work here every day, passing through the gardens, getting a coffee before the show – there’s a different energy here and it feels comfortable. Art, fun and liberty – Adelaide has it all.”

The square mile of Adelaide is separated from the northern half of the city by a lazy brown river, and engulfed on all sides by 2,332 acres of park lands. There’s room for everyone here.

At times it can feel like we have too much room.

Colonel William Light’s design of Adelaide, with its up-and-down streets and abundant green space, comes into its element every year in February and March when the city’s population swells and fills the night air with the fragrance of fried food and the sound of live music and art.

And while this time of the year provides us with abundant distractions, CityMag feels we should actually use this season to reflect on Colonel Light’s vision for Adelaide and how much more sense this place makes when it is full of people and activity.

Gluttony founder, Daniel Michael. This image: Johnny von Einem


Daniel Michael is one half of the business that puts on Gluttony each year in Mullawirrapurka Rymill Park. He’s been in the events business since 1993, when he and some friends put on a rave at the old Adelaide Gaol.

“We’d been to some music events and we thought we could do better,” says Daniel.

It’s a start up story common to so many entrepreneurs – where youth and idealism see a sub-par offering and, in Daniel’s words, “instead of complaining, get on and do something about it.”

Starting in Adelaide’s park lands at Adelaide Gaol, Daniel now runs a festival and events company that works the full breadth of the Kaurna Adelaide Plains, putting on concerts and food and wine festivals from Glenelg to McLaren Vale.

But Gluttony has a special place in the entrepreneur’s heart.

“I tend to choose things that look like fun and Fringe in Adelaide is exactly that,” says Daniel. “You have to be passionate about it and I guess I’m most passionate about the process, about designing the event, putting a team together and solving problems along the way.

“Adelaide’s park lands are designed to be beautiful and attractive places to be in… Gluttony is special to me because it’s one of the only events I put together that I feel I can be a part of.

“Other festivals are designed for a demographic I’m not a part of, but Gluttony is a place to be with my friends and family, my mum and my kids and neighbours – it’s for everyone.”

The city’s design, with its four terraces and subsequent grid, tells the story of a place designed for life. As our skyline reaches upwards and new residents move in and begin to fill up our city centre, the park lands will make more and more sense as we realise their value and utilise their amenity.

RCC Fringe intern – Harry Durrant. This image: Johnny von Einem


Harry Durrant is a third year student at University of Adelaide. He undertook two years of a commerce degree before a lot of head scratching and reflection saw him change degrees to take up a Bachelor of Media.

He’s currently serving as an intern at RCC Fringe – the festival venue that is operating on the grounds of the University of Adelaide this year.

“Before this experience, I was unsure about what I wanted to do as a career,” says Harry. He was one of five interns RCC Fringe took on to help in the marketing and publicity of the event.

“It’s been so rewarding to see the impact of my work on getting audiences to shows, seeing the smiles on peoples’ faces in the audience,” says Harry.

Harry loves the city and life within the CBD, but working on the Fringe event has opened his eyes to the true value of Adelaide.

“It’s made me see the potential of every space – spaces I would never have known about even as a student of Adelaide Uni,” he says. “Most of my friends are at UniSA and now they’re coming onto this campus and they’re blown away – they had no idea about this campus and what it had to offer.”

The city is alive right now and it feels special. But rather than give Fringe, the Adelaide Festival, WOMAD and the car race all the credit – we need to look at the architecture underpinning it all. Adelaide’s design, its abundant public spaces and beautiful mix of heritage and modern architecture responds and supports the influx of people and staging of huge events.

Helena Bittencourt – photo supplied


Helena is from a global city, world-famous for its Carnival and year-round festival atmosphere and yet she tells CityMag she could stay longer in Adelaide.

“I feel very lucky in my life, to play in many places around the world,” she says. “Each has its own beauty of course, but coming to Adelaide, we were all just so happy. The air is really good to breathe. I could be here three months.”

What if we all stayed in the city instead of withdrawing to the suburbs? What if we understood that while we might get less house, we’d have more life? What if we really appreciated what’s right under our nose and embraced a life lived closer together?

A lot of ifs in there – sure. But we’re confident Adelaide is designed to accommodate them all.

People living closer together can only be a good thing. This image: Catherine Leo

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