The space needs to facilitate a strong sense of community and cater for a diverse range of cultural activities. The existing condition of the Mall did not reflect its importance and, in 2006, Council committed to revamping this important place. This project received $4.5 million in matched funding from State Government and Council. Hassell led the consultant team. The aims of the project were to;
- encourage activity and vibrancy within Footscray principle activity centre
- provide high quality, low maintenance urban design and landscape solution for the public realm
- improve links and accessibility to local services, businesses and public transport
- significantly upgrade pedestrian amenity in Nicholson Street and neighbouring streets and laneways
- promote walkability and reduce reliance on short trip car travel within the Footscray centre
- increase perceptions of safety and security both day and night
- engage with the full diversity of local communities, stakeholders and relevant authorities
- integrate art into the public realm
Infrastructure was upgraded and made accessible to cater for growth and avoid unnecessarily reworking the area. Assets consolidated included: water mains, stormwater drains, electricity supply access, conduit to bundle power underground, bus and tram detectors, tram catenary wiring, fire hydrants, and public phones.
Innovative stormwater management
An innovation in stormwater management was the introduction of rain gardens in a hard surfaced area.
This was designed in partnership with Melbourne Water. The stormwater is directed to the trees and filtered from pollutants. This resulted in a change to the street profile from a road style ‘W’ to a ‘V’, increasing overland flow carrying capacity and reducing the likelihood of shops being flooded. This WSUD technique reduced the requirement for grated pits from 20 to 3.
Furniture and fittings were grouped within the organisational device of a yellow rubber surface, described as the ‘line of intensity’. This theme is continued with clear sight lines augmented with increased lighting through the space with façade lighting at the intersection. Two colours of pavers, light and dark, delineate the larger open spaces. The redesign also brings the mall in line with current access and mobility requirements, increases the footpath area and introduces a ‘Barnes’ style pedestrian crossing.
The redevelopment of Nicholson Street Mall creates a dynamic civic space that is safer and more accessible, with improved lighting, paving, more seating, more trees, and more shade. It incorporates larger and more comfortable bus and tram interchanges with improved pedestrian amenity.
The flexible design incorporates intimate seating clusters to retain the Mall as a meeting space, whilst providing larger open spaces that can accommodate larger community activities, such as cultural events, markets and gatherings. Construction is due to be completed in August 2008 on time and on budget. Please drop by and enjoy our new public space.