Temporary Park for a Placemaking Master Plan | Penrith, Australia
Type: Placemaking Master Plan
Size: 0.4 acre plaza
Penrith is a regional city on the edge of Metropolitan Sydney, Australia. In 2012, the city commissioned a master plan focused on revitalizing its retail core, which had been in a state of decline due to competition from big box stores, an economic downturn, deteriorating infrastructure, and other factors.
Street Plans worked with the Sydney-based consultancy Place Partners to integrate Tactical Urbanism into the master planning implementation process. The goal was to work with businesses and community members to quickly design and deliver a temporary public park that would be in place for a one year trial period. The pilot was designed to test uses and design elements before committing to a fixed design and the associated costs.
The project team hosted a public workshop in fall 2013, bringing local government staff together with business owners, student architects, designers, and community members. Workshop attendees formed teams and worked together to design sections of the park using a priced pre-approved kit of parts. Participants were instructed to consider how different users would be engaged in the space and how the park could support local businesses. They were also asked to consider flexible uses of the park for special events such as markets or celebrations.
The park design was finalized and then installed one month after the workshop, quickly delivering economic and social benefits to the community.
Over the course of one year, an independent consulting firm was hired to assess the park’s success. Behavior mapping, business owner engagement and traffic studies were employed as tools for learning. Following a successful one year pilot project, Penrith City Council decided in May 2015 to not only make the park permanent, but to also maintain the interim design until construction could begin. Moreover, City Council utilized a similar approach to project delivery elsewhere in the city. In 2016, a landscape architecture firm was hired to create the final park design, which will be built in 2017.
The pictures below show the park before the project, the interim design, and the final plan, designed by JMD-Design.