Parramatta is hardly front-of-mind when one’s thinks of cities with strong architectural, economic, cultural and social reputations.
However, one of the world’s leading city strategists has labeled the city NSW’s diamond in the rough, seeing it as one of the keys to solving major density issues in Sydney.
According to Public Spaces in New York vice president Ethan Kent, unlocking the potential of Parramatta would be a relatively smooth process given the city’s diverse culture and strong built foundations.
“Parramatta is so exciting because it has a number of diverse elements, from its foreshore through to its parklands, heritage sites and small spaces,” he says. “All these areas provide the City with an opportunity to create its own unique identity.”
The renowned strategist, who has aided in the evolution of major cities in Dubai, Hong Kong and the US, will discuss future plans with the city council and is confident Parramatta will play a key role in meeting the needs of an expanding NSW population.
“Like all of the great places across the world, some of the more interesting and vital areas occur outside of the capital city,” says Kent. “I see Parramatta as fitting into that category; it has all of the right ingredients. With the wider Sydney region expanding, it will have a key role to play in providing for the future needs of a growing population.”
Parramatta Lord Mayor John Chedid is proud of the urban planning leader’s nod of approval, backing Kent’s sentiments regarding the city’s yet to be unlocked potential.
“That he chose Parramatta as his only stop in this state says a lot about how he sees our City and its potential,” says Chedid. “Placemaking is not just about building or fixing up a space, it is about creating liveable, safe, creative and sustainable cities.”
The Lord Mayor welcomed Kent’s views and discussions, intimating that together with the council, they would work towards revitalising existing built spaces and public transport infrastructure in the city to allow this world-class vision of Parramatta to come to fruition.
“I’m looking forward to hearing Mr Kent’s views on how Council and the community can transform, revitalise and renew some of our own spaces through existing projects,” says Chedid. “I’m also interested in getting Mr Kent’s perspective on our existing transport plans. It is important that we create and support our places through effective transport connections that are focussed on accessibility and placemaking, not just mobility.”
Kent will advise the council on several growth plans that are already underway.