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river urban design strategy
Parramatta’s name is commonly translated as “the place where the eels lie down” or “head of waters.” It is derived from the Aboriginal word Baramada or Burramatta (Burra meaning place and matta meaning eels). Evidence of Aboriginal occupation exists within the Parramatta local government area, with signiicant sites including Parramatta Park along the ridgeline of the crescent and around Domain Creek.
Modern Parramatta was founded in 1788, the same year as Sydney. British colonists arrived at Sydney Cove in January 1788 with enough food to support themselves only for a short time. The soil around Sydney Cove proved too poor to grow the amount of food required to support the settlers, so after reconnaissance missions, Governor Arthur Phillip chose Parramatta as the most likely place for a successful, large farm. Parramatta was the furthest navigable point inland on the Parramatta River and the point at which the river became freshwater and suitable for agriculture.
This urban design strategy for the regeneration of Sydney’s second largest central business district encompasses 31 hectares on the Parramatta River foreshore. The project analyzed key
development sites, heritage items, ecologically sustainable development, open space, and water and cultural assets as a basis for building a new waterfront that rebrands the city.
The meeting point of the harbor and river was used for a brand proposition titled, “where
the waters Meet.” The design reorients the city back toward the river and proposes four new, vibrant, mixed-use river quarters. Parramatta Quay was conceived as a new water arrival point, connecting the business district to Circular Quay by ferry and creating a public and private domain of international quality.
The urban strategy will be reined into a master plan and business case for the government to partner with the private sector for delivery. In 2011, the project received the Award for Urban Design from the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects’ New South wales Chapter. A year later, it won the Planning Institute of Australia’s National Award for Urban Design and was recognized as the Australia Award for Urban Design winner: Policies, Programs and Concepts — Small Scale. The project was also recognized with the Prime Minister’s Australia Award for Urban Design.

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