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Curating Sydney's Future

Julia Champtaloup By Julia Champtaloup Published on May 17, 2016

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When the new building designed by Frank Gehry opened on the campus of the University of Technology in Sydney it was nicknamed the ‘paper bag’. Now, more than one year on is a triumphant pillar of a long-term redevelopment plan in Sydney. The development creates a new corridor connecting the previously low rise, industrial area near Central Station and Chippendale, to the center of the city. Along with the Goods Line (Sydney’s High Line but at ground level) and Central Park, an area formerly sidelined by the city center is now a busy community with open public space, new residential and bustling retail.

The new Frank Gehry building, the first building in Australia designed by the award-winning architect, offers the latest in smart design for learning with study pods for students, performance stages, free WIFI and electronic screens. It is also a part of greening the area and uses the highest-level design and technology to create a sustainable cluster of new development.

Walking through the open green space in Sydney’s Central Park development across from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), you see another view of Sydney’s future. A dense residential and retail area surrounded by office space features a new building by architect Jean Nouvel, boasting green wall exteriors designed by Patrick Le Blanc. 

Central Park plans to be Australia’s greenest and most self-sufficient mixed-use urban development. The sustainability strategy for Central Park was devised in close collaboration with the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology and fits into the UTS Master Plan as well as the City of Sydney Sustainable Sydney 2030 Strategic Plan.

‘Green’ technologies on-site include a central thermal tri-generation plant and a water recycling plant. New buildings at Central Park have incorporated rooftop gardens, green walls and smart-metering systems. A new building by Foster + Partners is now under construction adding more world class, smart designed office space to the development.

The newly opened Goods Line is an integral part of the new corridor and is being compared to the internationally renowned High Line in New York City. Just as the High Line repurposed old rail lines, the Goods Line reuses a stretch of disused industrial railway track between Sydney’s Devonshire Street via Ultimo Road’s heritage railway bridge to Darling Harbour. Unique design features of The Goods Line include a series of elevated spaces or platforms, which can be used for a variety of entertainment, recreation and public engagement events and free public Wifi.

The northern section of The Goods Line includes a cross-city pedestrian and bicycle corridor, connecting the inner city to Sydney’s foreshore, which will then lead to the Barangaroo development sight. Barangaroo is one of the most ambitious urban waterfront renewal projects in the world today, covering 22 hectares of which 50% will be green space. It is also bringing smart design and sustainability to Sydney’s future.

Curating Sydney’s future has been a collaborative effort based on partnerships and cooperation between government (state and local), the private sector, the universities and community. Like most cities, Sydney strives to be internationally recognized as a leader with outstanding environmental performance and new ‘green’ industries that will drive economic growth. Plans within the Sustainable Sydney 2030 Master Plan call for reducing carbon emissions, improving green infrastructure to reduce energy, water and waste water demands and new housing opportunities with vital transport, infrastructure and open space upgrades. The city has also invested in a walking and cycling network.

Julia is a Sydney based writer covering sustainable living, innovation, books and art.

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