Winners announced for the inaugural Public Space Ideas Competition

Greening pumps to cool Western Sydney, creating micromeadows connect to nature and a new 42km of continuous walking and cycling trails are some of the winning entries to the inaugural Public Space Ideas Competition for Greater Sydney.

The competition is organised by the Committee for Sydney and NSW Government, supported by AECOM and the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects. It seeks to  reimagine, inspire, create, and bring awareness to great public spaces across Greater Sydney.

Eight awards were handed out at the International Convention Centre Sydney last night (4 Nov) by the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Hon. Rob Stokes MP and members of the competition judging panel. The competition received over 500 separate entries.

The awards went to:

  • Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Award

Greening pipes to cool Sydney’s west, Arup

This idea from Arup demonstrates an innovative and well-developed concept that enhances connectivity. Repurposing under-utilised infrastructure, it’s a sophisticated solution to solving the issue of extreme heat in Western Sydney, as well as enhancing the region’s biodiversity.

  • Best Public Facility Idea

The Modern Carpark, Canterbury Bankstown Council

This entry addresses a growing dilemma faced by many local government agencies – ageing carpark infrastructure. Canterbury Bankstown Council has envisioned a way to revamp these spaces in a way that considers the entire community. The Modern Carpark concept is an urban interchange for people to access a variety of activation zones, with facilities like bike and ride-sharing areas, parcel pickup lockers, community arts and culture spaces, and open space for people to socialise and relax.

  • Best Temporary and/or Low-Cost Public Space Idea

30kph limit for non-arterial roads, The Walking Volunteers, Ian Napier, Paul Tranter and Rodney Tolley

This idea speaks for itself – introducing a 30 kph speed limit for non-arterial roads. At this speed, it’s safer for pedestrians to cross and drivers have the width of vision to spot children and older citizens. At this speed there’s also no need to build expensive, separated bike lanes as cyclists are comfortable sharing the road.

  • Best Resilient Public Space Idea

Unlocking South Sydney’s Newest Blue-Green Grid, RobertsDay

This idea rethinks how we use open space and water in South Sydney. The proposal unlocks 42km of continuous walking and cycling trails along the Wolli Creek, Cooks River and Botany Bay corridors. This concept reimagines a network of waterside, greener places with a diversity of programs and place activation opportunities.

  • Best Street Idea

My Street is a Park, Georgina DeBeaujeu

This addresses the lack of green space in our streets as a gateway to opportunity in our communities. My Street is a Park sparks the idea that we can transform underutilised public and private land in and around our streets into green space. We can use private developments as a catalyst to transform public streetscapes and by changing the rules we can deliver a park to residents and a return to developers.

  • Best Open Space Idea

Urban Micromeadows, Cred Consulting

This idea looks to transform residual and underused open space into micro-meadows to connect to nature, protect threatened fauna and flora, beautify our neighbourhoods, and improve health, wellbeing, and safety for residents. As many Sydneysiders are living in increasingly dense neighbourhoods with limited access to quality open space or opportunities to connect with nature, the jury was in strong agreement that is idea holds immense value for our communities.

  • Children and Young People’s Award

A Bushland Experience, Bianca Hales and Molly Flanagan

This idea incorporates environmentally-sensitive design with inclusivity and accessibility to ensure all Sydneysiders get to experience the joy of their surroundings. In this area of publicly accessible bushland, the path equitably accommodates for wheelchair accessibility and bikes. The path intentionally curves to direct attention to the bushland, encouraging every Sydneysider to enrich social and mental health outdoors. Various seating areas, immersed in greenery, form a sanctuary from dense urban Sydney.

  • Student Award

Common(s) Utilities, Janelle Woo and Gracie Grew

This is a concept that reimagines the civic potential and public ownership of Sydney’s historic urban utility infrastructure. Common(s) Utilities celebrates the historic beauty of country and the city’s urban memory. It’s an idea that engages practitioners, local government and community and Indigenous consultation to breathe new life into these historic spaces and retune them with good design for ongoing community use.

Hon. Rob Stokes MP, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces said:

“The Public Spaces Ideas Competition is so important as innovative ideas evolve from where people live, play and work. Whether is a patch of grass near home, or an empty laneway on the way to the train station – all public space can be reimagined.”

Gabriel Metcalf, CEO of the Committee for Sydney said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of public spaces in Sydney. It’s amazing that we’ve received over 500 submissions from Sydneysiders across the city with so many fantastic ideas on how to enhance our public spaces.

“Many of the entries focus on ways to improve Sydney’s natural environment and green spaces, as well as encouraging safer roads and more access for walking and cycling. As our city rebuilds from the pandemic, we have a great opportunity to reshape the city and make it even more enjoyable for the people who live and work here.

“This competition has unearthed some incredible innovative ideas and we look forward to working with the winners to make their visions a reality”.

 James Rosenwax, Managing Director, Buildings and Places, ANZ, AECOM said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has deepened everyone’s relationship with public space as they explored their own neighbourhoods during lockdown. It has also elevated the topic of equity of access and sustainability which really shines through in many of the outstanding entries.”

“The competition response exceeded our expectations, and the depth and variety of entries demonstrates the passion that Sydneysiders have for public space. With so much infrastructure under development or planning, we have a unique opportunity to design green and grey infrastructure to co-exist in harmony and create a more vibrant, equitable and sustainable Sydney at the same time.”

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