23 Aug 2021
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.
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.
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.
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