Darlinghurst Business Partnership (DBP), backed by City of Sydney, has partnered with local tech start-up DeepLine. Together they want to fill the many vacant shops along Oxford Street with whatever locals want.

“That [old] newsagency has been sitting there for over a year now. We want to encourage debate and get people involved,” says DeepLine director Ty Linegar.

As a Darlinghurst local, Linegar is determined to breathe new life into the precinct. “We’re trying to encourage leases people want to see,” he says.

“Darlinghurst was hit hard by Westfield [Bondi Junction]. We’re trying to rebuild it into a premier outdoor shopping precinct,” he says.

By installing high-tech display screens on Oxford Street (adjacent to Spunky Bruiser), Deepline is asking the local community to use the DBP social media channels, along with the hashtag #IWishThisWas, to help identify what the suburb needs.

The screens also provide a digital marketing opportunity for local businesses to advertise at a low cost.

They will also tell the story of Darlinghurst’s history to create further interest in the area. The digital project is envisioned as part of an East Sydney strategy that will include Potts Point and Surry Hills, too.

DBP will then assess the community responses around suggestions and approach tenants. They are looking for occupants that “align with the Darlinghurst evergreen three-year strategy, designed to preserve the boutique and bohemian nature of Darlinghurst as a premier outdoor shopping precinct,” says Linegar.

DBP will then provide the prospective tenants with marketing support, help to broker terms with landlords and with introductions to neighbours. This process will be open to public engagement via social media.