Central Barangaroo: Open for Culture

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Monday, April 28th, 2014
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Barangaroo’s recent call out to cultural organisations highlights the benefits creative activation can have when planning new developments.

Recently, the NSW Government released an expression of interest (EOI) to develop Central Barangaroo. As part of this EOI, the Barangaroo Development Authority (the Authority) is seeking submissions from parties interested in developing blocks within one of Sydney’s most exciting yet controversial developments.

While an EOI has been called for developers, the Authority is also seeking interest from cultural, civic, community and education organisations interested in contributing to Central Barangaroo. By doing so, the Authority not only recognises the importance of establishing a directory of preferred developers but now, aligning with innovative developments across the globe, is also considering cultural organisations as key components to creating a great place.

Central Barangaroo, as the name suggests, will be located between commercial and residential towers to the south and Headland Park to the north. It will be the “cultural heart of Barangaroo” and the most diverse urban experience within the larger Barangaroo precinct. The Authority’s website states the vision for Central Barangaroo:

“Central Barangaroo will be recognised globally and loved locally. It will be an evolving place, a dynamic space delivering experiences worth sharing. Central Barangaroo will combine civic and cultural attractions with recreational, retail and commercial uses to deliver an exciting unique range of public and cultural activities stimulating all those who experience it. It will enhance the climate positive goal of Barangaroo in content, form and expression. Central Barangaroo will dare to be bold. It will engage intimately with the harbour.”

While a promenade will help connect Sydney’s foreshore physically, the cultural element of Central Barangaroo will have the opportunity to connect locals and represent the interests of one of the most multicultural and diverse cities in the world. By doing so, Central Barangaroo must consider what ‘culture’ means for Sydney and what it will mean in the future when the project is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

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This is no easy feat, especially for a development like Barangaroo, which has captured interest from stakeholders, politicians and key influencers since its inception. In addition to this, at Barangaroo there are 4.4 million individuals making up the larger Sydney metropolitan region. As such, a well coordinated and meaningful cultural hub is needed to bridge division and breed innovation at Barangaroo.

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Over the coming years, Central Barangaroo should align with the City of Sydney’s Creative City Cultural Policy and aim to leverage off existing local programs such as Brand X at Central Park, Pop Up Parramatta and Rockdale’s Living Laneways initiative.

These projects are just a few popping up across Sydney, and they signal the growing awareness and value placed on culture. It’s no longer about filling a gap or hosting an event but something more powerful, when you connect people, and connect people to their place, there are environmental, social and economic benefits.

The Central Barangaroo development and culture EOIs close Wednesday June 25, 2014.

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