Australia lags countries including New Zealand and Canada when it comes to seeking out and including indigenous elements and notions in landscape architecture and architecture more generally, said juror Clarence Slocklee, of the Bundjalung Nation in north coast NSW and the director of landscape and design company Jiwah.

“It’s imperative that we start to pay a little bit more attention to first nations cultures here, who have cared for this country for thousands of years, hundreds of generations, if not thousands of generations,” Mr Slocklee told The Australian Financial Review.

“We know how to care for country and from a climate change, scientific, backdrop you would think that if we employ some of those management practices we might actually get there.“

Central Park, the first metro stop in from the 24-hour Nancy Bird Walton International Airport, will give foreign and domestic visitors a first sense of the city. A functional space as well as an arts and culture hub, it will be at the centre of the new suburb’s CBD,

Hassell Studio’s short-listed design for Western Parkland City Authority (WPCA)’s planned Central Park, a 2.01-hectare public park at the heart of Bradfield City Centre. Hassell

Success of the public space above the Bradfield Metro Station and Western Sydney Aerotropolis Metro line is also crucial in drawing private investment – as much as $10 billion in areas such as advanced technology manufacture, agribusiness and land development – into the wider 11,200-hectare Aerotropolis, or Western Parkland City.

“Investment in public spaces is important because a well-designed public space brings people and importantly businesses in, boosting the economic value of everything around it,” Western Parkland City Authority chair Jennifer Westacott said.

Central Park is due to open in the last quarter of 2026, at the same time as the Metro and airport.

Bradfield, four kilometres from the airport, is the centre of the Aerotropolis, or Western Parkland City that along with Greater Parramatta and the Harbour CBD will comprise the three cities under the Greater Cities Commission plan.

Bradfield City Centre will be located just south of Sydney’s second airport.  NSW government

Bradfield is due to have 3000 residents by 2036 and up to 15,000 by 2056, while the wider Western Parkland City will have a forecast population of 1.4 million by 2036.

Hassell is also designing Bradfield’s first building, the $260 million timber structure 2800-square-metre collaborative space designed to develop advanced manufacturing projects. It is due to open in the first quarter of next year. Tech company Hitachi was named as the first tenant last year.

Landscape architect James Corner, the designer behind downtown New York’s iconic High Line elevated walking path, is chairing the five-person jury that includes Mr Slocklee as well as NSW government architect Abbie Galvin, Fluminis director and landscape architect Kate Luckraft and landscape architect Gallagher Studio director Libby Gallagher.

Inclusion of Indigenous principles in the park’s design was not about tokenism or cliched stereotypes, Mr Corner said.

“It’s not so much about representing an ancient Aboriginal culture, as much as it is maybe trying to make sense of that with regard to contemporary lifestyle,” he told the Financial Review.

The founder and CEO of New York-based Field Operations said the aim of any good landscape design was to showcase the surrounding area in a way that made people want to come back.

TCL’s short-listed design for Western Parkland City Authority (WPCA)’s planned Central Park, a 2.01-hectare public park at the heart of Bradfield City Centre. TCL

“75 per cent of the High Line is Manhattan,” he said. “If you just took the High Line itself, the design is kind of cool, but 75 per cent of the experience are vistas, overlooks, that borrowed landscape of Manhattan that is critical to the delight, the pleasure people get.”

But any successful site needed “a bit of magic”, or “iconicity” that made it stand out immediately and visually, Mr Corner said.

It also needed a unique identity.

“That’s design, essentially,” he said. “You’re bringing a legible form, a distinctive identity that people look at and think is fresh, novel, meaningful, draws a certain point of pleasure from, is photographable and that’s your Instagram moment.”

The site also needed to create space for people to be social, to watch, and mingle with, other people.

Turf Design Studio’s short-listed design for Western Parkland City Authority (WPCA)’s planned Central Park, a 2.01-hectare public park at the heart of Bradfield City Centre. 

While the urban space being built from the ground up in western Sydney was a world away from the high-density New York borough, the underlying principles needed to be the same, Mr Corner said.

“The site we’re looking at is totally different,” he said. “It’s not Manhattan, not the High Line. I’m not looking for those ideas, but when you think of any great public space in any city they generally have these three attributes.”

 Landscape Architecture 


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