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  • To support CBD retailers in the lead-up to Christmas last year, Transport for NSW transformed one of Sydney’s main CBD roadways and part of the light rail construction zone into a temporary public space. Using a tactical urbanism approach, road space was converted to hangout zones for city workers and residents, giving them a taste of the future pedestrian area on George Street.
Focus CBD and South East Light Rail. Text: Graham Pointer
How Can We Make Better Place During Infrastructure Construction?
Focus CBD and South East Light Rail. Text: Graham Pointer

Long term planning around a city’s liveability is just as important as the things we can do today. The temptation is to ‘put up with’ construction sites. But if we can innovate during disruption, like the Sydney Light Rail project achieved over Christmas, imagine what we can do when construction is over. (Professor Ed Blakely, Greater Sydney Commission)

In a first for a transport agency in Australia, temporary placemaking is being implemented alongside the construction of the CBD and South East Light Rail to reinforce that Sydney is ‘open for business’ and to support directly impacted businesses. Transport for NSW is focussed on opportunities to maintain the vibrancy and excitement of key precincts during construction.

Our approach has been influenced by US-based organisation and placemaking experts, People for Public Spaces, which has developed a series of principles for placemaking that aims to make places more social, accessible, comfortable and active. The ‘tactical urbanism’ movement has also influenced us to use placemaking opportunities as a way to evoke the forthcoming pedestrian boulevard.

If you visited George Street last Christmas you would have seen, visited or relaxed in our first temporary placemaking initiative (installed within the construction zone between Market and King Streets) that aimed to support the 2015 Christmas retail period. More comfortable people-centric zones in front of Town Hall; and between Martin Place and King Street have also been set up over the past six months. Given the success of these initiatives, we are working with local urban designers and architects such as JOC Consulting Archrival on more placemaking initiatives in the CBD, Surry Hills, Kingsford and Kensington. With light rail, we want to create a city that people want to use and spend time there. By creating temporary placemaking during construction we are providing spaces for people to meet and enjoy whilst maintaining the important connection between people and this thriving city.

Graham Pointer is principal manager of the Business Activation Program, CBD Coordination Office, Transport for NSW
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