Home, James, and don’t spare the horses: the inevitability of a second Sydney casino

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Planner, 2017, 54 (2), pp. 80 - 92
Issue Date:
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© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Casinos have become an important yet controversial element of many contemporary metropoles, with cities on the Pacific Rim no exception. Twenty years after the opening of Sydney’s first casino, construction of its second is currently underway on a contentious site, the Barangaroo precinct. This paper offers a historical analysis of the current casino project against the backdrop of casino development in Australia general, comparing the current project to the development of Sydney’s first casino, The Star (formerly Star City). We argue that both have been predicated on a cosmopolitan gaze contributing to the image of a ‘global city’ and the promise of increased tax revenues. As a result, planning processes have lacked legitimacy, particularly in the case of Crown, which involves the use of significant public assets. This paper critiques the spectacle of iconic developments of both The Star at Pyrmont and Crown Casino at Barangaroo when set against the morphology and urban form, suggesting that a more sincere engagement with the specificity of place on major developments would mitigate against the polarising effects of contested urban projects.
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