Harbour Village North Preamble 2012

Harbour Village North is a unique historic precinct in the City. Defined by the harbour foreshore and other natural and man-made barriers, it is a village within the City Centre with a human scale and special character typified by strong topographic features, exposed stone cliff s and harbour views. It includes the diverse localities of Millers Point, Dawes Point, Walsh Bay, The Rocks, and Barangaroo – the largest urban renewal site in Sydney (refer to adjacent map). Barangaroo provides opportunities for new connections into parkland, mixed use and foreshore areas. For these existing areas the challenge is to facilitate these connections with high quality streets and paths, as well as public parks and facilities that cater for a growing and increasingly diverse population.

This study recognises and celebrates the strengths of Harbour Village North and proposes staged public domain improvements to support the area’s cultural experiences and increasing intensity of use. It builds on suggestions and ideas from the community highlighted in the City of Sydney’s Local Action Plans, Sustainable Sydney 2030 consultation as well as direct discussions with key stakeholder groups.

The study also considers Harbour Village North’s role in implementing current City wide strategies such as the Public Spaces and Public Life Study and Cycle Strategy and Action Plan 2007-2017. It examines in detail key streets extending east west between Circular Quay and Barangaroo, north from the city centre and the foreshore walk around the harbour front through Walsh Bay.

The study identifies six guiding directions for long term improvements in Harbour Village North that will strengthen its character as a special destination while improving connections to surrounding areas and enriching community life;

  1. Improve access, connectivity and wayfinding.
  2. Create a network of linked parks and upgrade existing open spaces.
  3. Respect and celebrate heritage, conserve and restore Observatory Hill.
  4. Celebrate landform and harbour views.
  5. Support Walsh Bay cultural precinct and improve Cultural Ribbon connections.
  6. Strengthen local communities and support local economies.

The study identifies precinct-wide public domain ‘overlays’, 10 priority projects and longer term project ideas to deliver on the guiding directions. These projects outline possible improvements for a better quality public domain and further activation of streets. Improved street conditions, public art, heritage interpretation and better street furnishing and landscaping are all suggested within the study.