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Community engagement and concept design at play in Hills Showground Park

23 August 2021 | 3 min read

While COVID-19 restrictions are forcing many communities to stay home right now, Landcom and RPS are supporting residents from across The Hills Shire to imagine the future of outdoor play in Castle Hill.

 

As part of the Sydney Metro Northwest Places program, The Hills Showground Station Precinct will be a thriving local mixed-use centre—a walkable, lively place with strong connections to world-class transport, cultural and recreational activities at the Castle Hill Showground.

In January 2021, the concept State Significant Development Application (SSDA) for the Hills Showground Station Precinct was approved, with a new community park to be a key feature of the precinct.

Landcom Executive General Manager of Projects, Scott Gregg, said the park will be an important step towards establishing a new transit-oriented neighbourhood at Hills Showground.

“Over the coming years, the Showground Station Precinct will transform into a thriving new neighbourhood, which will include 1,620 homes, shops, and small offices. Green open spaces will form a key part of the success of this community,” Mr Gregg said.

RPS artists impression: Hills Showground Park
RPS artist's impression of Hills Showground concept design

Inclusion and placemaking all part of the design

Our Sydney-based landscape architecture practice has been supporting Landcom with concept designs for the new park, which are available for community review and feedback until 31 August.

“While traditionally parks have been thought of as ‘kid places’, it’s important that public spaces are accessible and welcoming for people of all ages. They contribute to a sense of community and place,” said RPS Principal Landscape Architect, Matt Durning.  

“As our city becomes denser and the quarter-acre block with a big backyard becomes less a part of our urban lexicon, parks are taking on the role of a ‘shared backyard’.

“An exciting aspect of the Hills Showground park project is that it will be designed in close consultation with the community. We’ve brought concept ideas to the table which are based on our work on award-winning public spaces all over Australia, and now locals will help us to refine them and make this park uniquely Castle Hill,” said Matt.

RPS artists impression: Hills Showground Park
RPS artist's impression of Hills Showground concept design

Community input on park design

While our landscape architects have been working on design concepts for the new park, RPS’ communications and engagement team has been working with Landcom to shape the community feedback process.

“In the age of COVID-19 lockdowns and limitations, flexibility is key,” explains RPS General Manager for Insights, Communications and Creative, Laura Stewart.

“Often we would be out in the community talking to people face-to-face, but at the moment we are taking a digital-first approach. Landcom’s consultation page includes various options for the residents to have their say on park’s design include a digital wall where people can post their ideas about park features, online design workshops, and an interactive online survey.

“COVID-19 has forced us to think about how we can replicate in-person engagement experiences. While it certainly has its challenges, it has revealed opportunities to engage with a broader range of community members that might not normally get involved.

“It’s been great to see the interest from local residents from across The Hills Shire and we look forward to working with Landcom to understand the community’s ideas and aspirations for the park. 

Local residents can review the park’s design and have their say until Tuesday 31 August here

 

About RPS

Founded in 1970, RPS, A Tetra Tech Company (RPS) is a leading global professional services firm of 5,000 consultants and service providers. Operating in 125 countries, working across six continents we define, design and manage projects that create shared value to a complex, urbanising and resource-scarce world.

RPS delivers a broad range of services in six sectors: property, energy, transport, water, defence and government services and resources. Services provided across RPS' six sectors cover twelve service clusters: project and program management, design and development, water services, environment, advisory and management consulting, exploration and development, planning and approvals, health, safety and risk, oceans and coastal, laboratories, training and communications, creative and digital services.

RPS stands out for its clients by using its deep expertise to solve problems that matter, making them easy to understand. Making complex easy.

For further information, please visit www.rpsgroup.com.

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