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Future Directions - Penrith ‘transformers’ set to revamp urban space with one-year park installation

Article image - Future Directions - Penrith ‘transformers’ set to revamp urban space with one-year park installation US Urban Tactician and founding Principal of The Street Plans Collaborative Mike Lydon, Penrith Mayor Mark Davies, Penrith CBD Corporation CEO Gai Hawthorn and Place Partners Director Kylie Legge after the intensive park design workshop on 19 September.
Using best practice tactical urbanism – short term action to create meaningful long term change – business, community and creatives have come on board for Penrith City Council’s Make My Park Pop project.

At an intensive workshop on 19 September 2013, three teams bringing together business operators, student architects and creatives took on designing and budgeting different sections of a trial, one-year park installation. The park aims to produce an economic and recreational hub defining Penrith’s retail core.

With a build cost of $40,000, the one-year trial is a cost-effective blueprint to deliver immediate community benefits. The park concept will be evaluated over 12 months ahead of a future permanent park envisaged under Council’s $17 million Penrith City Centre Public Domain Masterplan. Lessons from the trial will be applied to creating the best possible model of a permanent park. It will also minimise the disruption that can come from a large scale construction site on retailers’ doorsteps.

Penrith’s community, with Council, will be bringing the park to life at key stages of the Make My Park Pop transformation from mid-October.

Former Penrith Mayor Mark Davies said the ambitious Make My Park Pop project would help to revitalise retail in Penrith’s main streets and be an example for other Australian communities placing radical urban transformation in local hands.

“Penrith City Council’s Make My Park Pop initiative will activate a fun and interactive gateway park for residents, visitors and workers in Penrith’s CBD.

Significantly it will attract more people to meet and discover what’s new and what’s on offer from High Street’s diverse businesses and eateries.

“We’re gathering local business input and have invited community members to be guided by expert facilitators Place Partners consultancy, The Lot and leading US tactical urbanist, Mike Lydon, in devising their ideal community park from a kit including paints, surfaces, seating, trees and options such as hopscotch for an urban playground.

“The park’s opening from 23 October will launch a series of events and activities welcoming local groups to enjoy the exciting and edgy new space.

“The park installation, through the Penrith City Centre Public Domain Masterplan, is key to helping our region prosper. This masterplan, available on our website, is the product of a year of community and stakeholder engagement. It will shape a culturally-stimulating urban environment supporting a night time economy, business opportunities and new investment.”

Director Place Partners Kylie Legge said the project represented “the next generation of best practice urban revitalisation – a Council strategic master plan being designed and delivered in collaboration with the community.”

“It’s the type of project that will put Penrith on the map in terms of place making and tactical urbanism.”

You can follow the transformation at http://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au/MakeMyParkPop