Rhapsody in blueprints for Parramatta CBD

Imagine this … a redesign of River Square.PARRAMATTA’S urban future has been mapped out in a series of blueprints aimed at revitalising the city’s Georgian street grid and its river foreshore.

More than 80 architects, landscapers and designers collaborated to give Sydney’s second CBD a virtual makeover by redesigning 15 neglected and run-down laneways, public spaces and council buildings.

Design Parramatta is a joint project between Parramatta City Council and the Government Architect’s Office, and the council will use the blueprints to lobby the state and federal governments for funding.

The project’s manager Kati Westlake said Parramatta would find it hard to cope with the rapid economic and population growth predicted in the government’s ”NSW 2021” plan without a transformation of some of its dull public spaces.

”Some people describe [Parramatta] as very 1990s. Some people don’t see it as a dynamic and innovative place and perhaps it is seen as a bit of a backwater in terms of other cities, but that is changing,” Ms Westlake said.

”[Design Parramatta] is part of changing the image of how Parramatta is perceived and it is becoming a real player among other Australian cities. There will be a lot of growth, so it is really important to get designers involved from the start.”

The designs focus on making Parramatta River more central to the city’s life and beautifying the nearby parks and streets to attract more people to the foreshore. A river square has been designed, to replace a council car park, with a capacity to hold events for 20,000 people.

George Street would be revitalised and more space returned to its original 60-metre width by eliminating awnings and having more tree-lined terraces and squares. A series of sculptures would be placed in laneways and interactive artwork, mounted on screens, would be sited between the river and the railway line.

Ms Westlake said the redesign of areas such as Church Street mall and smaller laneways could begin within four to five years but some of the larger projects would take longer.

The lord mayor, John Chedid, said the council had endorsed the concepts but the plans would need refinement and community consultation before they were implemented.

”The concepts from Design Parramatta will also complement the city building projects already under way, such as Parramatta Square,” he said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


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