As a part of the recent AILA conference, I joined a cycle tour of recent public realm improvement projects organised by landscape staff of the City of Sydney. We rode 18km in a circuit around the villages of inner Sydney looking at a dozen recent urban, park and bike infrastructure projects, with the client on hand to explain and discuss each of these high quality new projects. Some highlights included:
Pirrama Park Pyrmont, a new harbour foreshore park designed by Aspect Studio with Hill Thalis Architects and completed in 2010 for $26m. The park includes a landmark amenities and café building and a mix of promenade, water edge, play and other passive spaces that reference the maritime history of the site, treat storm water, and connect to adjoining foreshore open space.
Harris Street Pyrmont a streetscape upgrade focussed on Pyrmont Village designed by Complete Urban Solutions and built by 2010 for $7m. Also in Pyrmont Union Street Cycleway and streetscape upgrade designed by Tract Consultants and completed in 2011 for $3m.
Glebe Foreshore is a continuous accessible foreshore park around Glebe Peninsula designed by JMD Design and completed in 2007 for $12m.
Johnston’s Canal Shared Path Glebe is a 1 km recreational link from Orphans School Creek, Forest Lodge to Blackwattle Bay. Designed by Phillips Marler and completed in 2012 for $1.5m Goddard Reserve Newtown is a tiny pocket park upgraded to a design by Sue Barnsley Landscape Architects in 2011 for a cost of $145k.
Pinkstone Playground Erskineville is an even smaller corner park also designed by Sue Barnsley Landscape Architects in 2012 for a cost of $320k. Play elements developed with a local artist are a woven cubby house and nest with woven eggs.
Redfern Park upgrade involved the redevelopment of a historic park and home for the South Sydney Rugby League Football Club in a manner that allows the field to be closed for occasional events but open as a unified stylish public park in normal mode. Bligh Voller Nield designed the very elegant sunken field, stadium, club and café building, while Spakman Mossop Michaels were the landscape architects. It was completed in 2008 for $30m.
Redfern Street Renewal Redfern a streetscape reconstruction with new public art designed by Complete Urban Solutions and completed in 2008 for $20m.
Bourke Street Cycleway Woolloomooloo to Waterloo form part of a seven kilometre separated cycle way linking Green Square urban renewal precinct to Sydney Harbour. Designed by GTA Consultants with Pod Landscape Architecture and completed in 2011 for $24m.
Prince Alfred Park and Pool Surry Hills is a significant park in the city’s open space network. The existing park and pool have undergone a major upgrade in a manner that restores the open landscape of the park while renewing facilities with an elegant earth covered pool facilities building designed by Neeson Murcutt Architecture with landscape by Sue Barnsley Design. Just completed this year for $30m
This was an impressive array of public projects delivered over five years. By my calculation, including five additional similar City of Sydney projects not on the tour, this averages, since 2008, over $30 million per year expenditure on improving the public realm of the City of Sydney villages.
Also worthy of note is that all these projects were designed by consultants and no doubt greatly supported in their delivery by the large City Projects and Properties team of landscape architects and other professionals.