MODEST changes to Dubbo's original retail and commercial heart could work as many wonders as ambitious plans, research shows.
Dr Matthew Burke of Griffith University's Urban Research Program suggested a range of measures to strengthen a central business district (CBD).
Dr Burke argued "walkability" was key and said to "tame" cars in main streets so pedestrians had priority, but not ban four-wheeled transport altogether.
Melbourne had done this by removing vehicles at certain hours, while in Brisbane cars flowed at any time, but it was in a space constructed for pedestrians and drivers behaved accordingly, he said.
Simple amenities were also important.
"Lighting, shade and good public toilets - never underestimate the power of good public toilets," Dr Burke said.
"In Shanghai they have recently built more than 1000 good-quality public toilets for every 100 to 500 metres, so you don't have to worry.
"Seating is important - seniors can and want to walk long distances if seating is available."
Dubbo City Council is currently surveying residents about their priorities for cycleways and footpaths to guide its planning.
Dubbo boasts the first regional all abilities playground, set within Victoria Park, but it may be just a little too far from the shopping district to provide a boost.
"Great parks with good playgrounds for children are an asset, (they should be) walking distance from shops, not 1.5 kilometres away," Dr Burke said.
o Tomorrow's Daily Liberal will look at who should pay for the measures.