In brief

Design Parramatta is a project for improving Parramatta City Centre’s public domain by enhancing design quality in Parramatta. It was jointly coordinated by Parramatta Council in association with NSW Government in Architect's Office and involved:

    • Strategic selection of 15 public domain sites
    • Preparation of site specific project briefs and a city wide art brief
    • An Expression of Interest inviting multi-disciplinary design teams to participate
    • Selection and engagement of 19 teams of architects, urban designers, landscape architects and artists
  • Three collaborative workshops for briefing and presentation of interim and final designs for feedback
  • A website and web-based design hub to encourage ongoing collaboration between designers and to provide information to the public about the project.

The resulting concepts for public space and art will be combined with ongoing public domain projects to create the Parramatta City Centre Public Domain Framework Plan 2012 which will provide a unified framework to guide the renewal of Parramatta City’s Public Domain for the next 16 years. As the projects and plan are implemented, Parramatta City Centre will be progressively strengthened by a mosaic of exciting public space makeovers.


Why Design Parramatta?

"Well designed and maintained public spaces should be at the heart of any community. They are the foundation for public interaction and social integration and provide the sense of place essential to engender civic pride."

Lord Richard Rogers
Towards A Strong Renaissance, Report on The Commission for the Built Environment, 2005, p.5

The public spaces of a city; its streets, parks, lanes and squares are collectively known as the public domain. These vital areas provide space for social interaction, cultural activity and provide access to buildings and utilities. Many global cities including Paris, London, New York, Melbourne and Sydney CBD are engaging designers in public domain projects to improve their city’s image, amenity, attractiveness and competiveness.

Currently much of Parramatta’s public domain lacks amenity and a memorable image. The Design Parramatta project addresses these issues by creating quality visions for key streets, parks and public spaces and then combining these visions into a city wide Public Domain Framework Plan that will be implemented over the next 16 years. The Parramatta City Centre Public Domain Framework Plan 2012 will coordinate and combine individual projects into a unified city.

Design Parramatta focuses on creating designs and working with designers from a range of disciplines to create a rich palette of projects and approaches and maximise creativity and innovation in Parramatta City Centre.


Brief History of Parramatta

Parramatta is located 24km west of the Sydney CBD on the Parramatta River where the freshwater meets the sea. It takes its names from the Aboriginal; “plenty of eels” or “head of the river”. It was settled in 1788 to provide much needed farming land for the fledgling colony and quickly became a government centre connected via the river to Sydney Harbour and the international maritime economy beyond.

The river and Church and George Streets comprise Australia’s first implemented town plan. Historic buildings from this time are still evident within the city fabric and add to the character and diversity of the city.

Parramatta has been strengthened by designation in key State planning instruments as Sydney’s next major city and has played an increasingly important role in the structure and function of Greater Sydney over the past few decades. The city has benefited from increased commerce, employment, cultural activity and the growth of specialised industry in centres such as Westmead adjoining the city.

Today Parramatta and surrounding municipalities are experiencing rapid population growth. The city is now located at the geographical heart of the Sydney Metropolitan Area, and has become the only centre in Sydney with a true 360 degree catchment. The residents of Parramatta and Western Sydney are younger than the Sydney average, more culturally diverse and increasingly highly-skilled and educated. Approximately 50% of those residing in Parramatta’s catchment were born overseas with Chinese, Indian, Arabic, Korean and other Asian ethnicities being the most prevalent cultural groups. Parramatta’s new residents show a strong preference for urban living with demand for apartments close to transport and other city amenities resulting in a surge of residential construction activity and changes in the retail, food and services mix within the CBD.