Examining the development of public space in foreshore Sydney : Barangaroo case study

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Urban development in Sydney since the 1970s has attempted to satisfy the needs of both a global audience and local citizens. Urban development and planning strategies have formed distinct and opposite development directions that fortify the mandate of the NSW Government and federal government to attract global capital, while the nested hierarchy of government has reduced the strength of local government to deliver equitable commons that provide open public spaces for their citizens. The thesis conducts a case study analysis of the Barangaroo precinct development tracing changes in the provision of public space through a review of the design competition documents, concept plans, modifications and associated media, to uncover and understand the implication of the Barangaroo precinct development on the quantitative and qualitative public space outcomes. The development of Sydney, Australia’s Global City, has favoured the imperative to provide an economic framework to enhance its position relative to other state capital cities and in a global context. This has stymied the development of public spaces where public space as an object of exchange and extraction is more highly valued than its social utility and outcomes are poor in the delivery of large urban developments. The thesis draws on a range of theoretical tools recognising cities as transdisciplinary spaces. An assemblage framework is applied to integrate more explicitly the often tacit sociospatial inputs within the economic discourse that dominates the urban entrepreneurial agenda. The methodology of conducting a parallel analysis of the quantitate and qualitative changes in the Barangaroo precinct development was used due to the complexity of the development and also due to the range of available data that was not easily comparable. The key findings from the thesis reveal an erosion of both the quality and quantity of public space in relation to the private gain from development. The Modifications made to the original Concept Plan over the course of the development have been the key points of reference revealing these often misleading and disparate pieces of information. By disassembling and reassembling these relationships, a greater understanding of the urban regeneration discourse is exposed through the Barangaroo case study.
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