Parramatta River urban design strategy wins award

A cityscape that refocuses Parramatta’s CBD towards the river has won a prestigious nation award for urban design.

Landscape architecture firm McGregor Coxall claimed the Policies, Programs and Concepts (Small Scale) award at the 2012 Australia Award for Urban Design.

McGregor Coxall was awarded for its Parramatta River Urban Design Strategy, commissioned by Council in 2011 as part of its river foreshore regeneration plan.

Design director Adrian McGregor said the model based around the river could ''unlock economic potentials''.

The firm's design included relocating the existing wharf and weir as well as building a ''Parramatta Quay" where ferries could turn.

Cafes, restaurants, high-rise apartments and commercial offices could then built along the river banks, opening up the waterfront to an economy, Mr McGregor said.

''We looked at cities like Hamburg and Oslo that do have these wonderful waterfronts that are used by people,'' he said.

"Parramatta has got incredible potential, it's all just sitting there waiting.''

Lord Mayor of Parramatta Lorraine Wearne paid tribute to the strategy and said the council was looking at feasibility options to implement the design.

“Most major cities in the world with river frontage work hard to create opportunities and provide high quality, popular recreation and entertainment precincts around their rivers,’’ councillor Lorraine Wearne said.

‘‘There are great economic and environmental benefits in doing this.

‘‘This is the future (that) council wants for the CBD section of the River — somewhere safe and attractive for families and workers, where there is a lot happening and people want to visit.’’

The award was presented to the architects at an awards dinner at Canberra’s National Portrait Gallery last night.

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