A proposed plaza between the Sydney and Melbourne Buildings in Civic would help Canberrans reclaim the iconic art deco landmarks and revitalise the precinct, according to ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr.
Mr Barr has today invited Canberrans to have a say on a Government strategy to create a series of “urban villages” at key points on the planned light rail network along Northbourne Avenue, including the new plaza at the intersection with London Circuit.
The Chief Minister said such a plaza would join up the east and west of the city.
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“The road will be easier to cross. Wider pavements will allow for outdoor dining and socialising. New trees and landscaping will create a more pleasant environment with good shade,” he said.
The Government’s City and Gateway Urban Renewal Strategy was designed to turn Northbourne Avenue into a tree-lined boulevard that would form a fitting entrance for a national capital as well as incorporating developments to meet community needs. The plan proposes the development of urban villages at Dickson and the Macarthur Avenue intersection initially, with Haig Park/Braddon and EPIC/Mitchell the sites for future hubs.
Mr Barr said there would be taller buildings in the centre of each village, with heights reducing as you got further from the main intersection and light rail stop.
“On the outskirts of Canberra, it will feel more like bushland,” he said.
“As you progress nearer the city, well-designed buildings, with the taller ones centred on major intersections and light rail stops, will clearly identify each urban village. The landscaping will become more formal: trees planted in straight lines. The transition into the national triangle will be clear. Run-down buildings will be replaced.”
Mr Barr said the villages would be places to live, work and play – with new employers, retail, cafes, services and urban parks within walking or cycling distance of neighbouring suburbs.
“The buildings should be impressive and the landscaping should be beautiful. It should also be uniquely Canberra, reflecting our position as the world’s most liveable city and as the bush capital. It should reflect our determination to continue to come of age as a modern, international city and our determination not to become another traffic-choked city like Sydney,” he said.
Have your say on the proposal and see more artists’ impressions and maps at http://haveyoursay.planning.act.gov.au