Remaking Parramatta closer to people's desires

He has famously transformed Times Square in New York, worked on Pompey Square in the Bahamas and revitalised Garden Place in New Zealand — and now Ethan Kent has set his eyes on rejuvenating Parramatta.

An authority on placemaking and the vice-president of the Project for Public Spaces, Mr Kent has come to Sydney along with Professor Ed Blakely, who helped rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, to discuss with Parramatta Council staff strategies on unlocking Parramatta's potential.

Mr Kent said discussions would focus on developing key public space projects that would better engage the Parramatta community.

"A lot is going to change," Mr Kent said.

"Parramatta has a great proximity, accessibility and the means for investment.

"And, we have to make sure that we leverage that investment to support great public spaces that are defined by the people of Parramatta."

The project would focus on revitalising Church Street Mall and will include reshaping the space, relocating the playground, adding water features, improving the lighting and connecting the space to the Town Hall and the future Parramatta Square.

Mr Kent said discussions would also focus on building on Parramatta's cultural diversity and heritage.

"People in Parramatta have travelled to different parts of the world or they are from different parts of the world," he said. "So it's about drawing out the Parramatta community's expertise and what is it that they are most proud of about their community and culture here, and what is it that they want showcased in these spaces."

As part of the project, the council will be going out to the community to seek their views and feedback on what they want for their public spaces in the city.

The revitalised Church Street Mall is set to be completed by June 2014.

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