City of Parramatta Council has announced a major new green corridor for the CBD. Called ‘Civic Link’, the corridor will has been designed as a collaboration between ASPECT Studio and SJB, and will link key destinations in the city’s heart.
Civic Link will extend across four city blocks in the heart of the CBD – running from Parramatta Square to River Square through to the broader foreshore precinct – and link the city’s transport infrastructure to its river foreshore.
One of the primary aims of the initiative is to open up a pedestrianised and cyclable flow-through between major destinations. On completion, Civic Link will measure approximately 490 metres in length and 20 metres in width.
Space for the project will be made possible via the redevelopment of the above-ground, council-owned Horwood Place car park.
Four ‘Place Qualities’ have been conceived for Civic Link, which will guide design decisions and reflect the cultural and practical functions the corridor aims to fulfil. These qualities are ‘green’ (green spaces with improved storm water management), ‘cultural’ (small event spaces and public art that reflects cultural history), ‘connected’ (a pedestrianised and cyclable corridor between key destinations), and ‘fine grain’ (activated edges with high-quality architecture and incubator spaces).
According to the council, Civic Link is also intended to act as a ‘unifying element’ for the CBD’s existing diversity of architectural styles. Extending from the station in the south to the river in the north, the new green ‘cultural spine’ will touch existing built forms ranging from office buildings to heritage theatres to older commercial buildings and shops.
As well as being a ‘cultural spine’ for Parramatta – of which the new arts and culture precinct will be a significant component – the site will support sustainability by addressing cooling, stormwater management, and infrastructure needs.
The design brief for Civic Link seems to focus on fostering the growth of an urban river city, while remaining sensitive to the area’s history and culture. The project is a direct response to the scale and pace of change currently being undertaken in Parramatta CBD – not least of which is a rapid rate of population growth. By 2036, the residential population of Parramatta CBD is expected to grow from 12,455 to 34,632 – a number that represents almost triple the current population.
The opportunity for Civic Link was first identified in the 2010 Parramatta Lanes Strategy. Further suggestions contained in the strategy included solar access, green and water elements, and further ‘context’.
Civic Link is one of a number of significant projects to be delivered in the Greater Parramatta and Olympic Peninsula area over the next ten years; a scale of change the council has dubbed a ‘once-in-a-lifetime transformation’.