By Paul Hemsley
The City of Sydneyâ€™s long-delayed redevelopment of the inner-city precinct of Green Square is finally taking shape following the appointment of international consulting group AECOM to design the landscape architecture for the massive new build.
The proposed Town Centre has been on the cards for development since the 1990s, when the City earmarked it to cater for Sydneyâ€™s growing population which is expected to grow by 1.3 million people and require 545,000 new homes by 2031.
After almost a decade of planning, the City of Sydney announced in March 2012 that the old Royal South Sydney Hospital site in Zetland had been demolished, clearing the way for the new residential and commercial project to be built.
The Green Square development has been a key element in Lord Mayor Clover Mooreâ€™s ambitious plan to radically redefine transport infrastructure within the city limits, which has also included controversial proposed changes to the roads and footpaths of Sydneyâ€™s CBD in in order to eliminate car traffic from George Street in favour of a new light rail system to alleviate gridlock caused by private vehicles and busses.
Worth $8 billion, the overall Green Square project has become a planning focal point since 2012 because of the Cityâ€™s invitation to international architects to design the Green Square Library and Plaza, which attracted 168 entries from 29 countries.
The Library design bid was won by Stewart Hollenstein and now the City has hired AECOM for a six-year contract worth $3.8 million to provide consultancy services for the design and delivery of the Town Centreâ€™s â€œEssential Infrastructure and Public Domainâ€.
AECOM is an American conglomerate that specialises in professional technical and management support services. It has previously provided engineering services to the federal government for the Australian Defence Forceâ€™s $300 million Headquarters Joint Operations Command near Canberra before its completion in 2004.
The company has claimed that the green infrastructure it will design will include recycled water and easy access to shops, parks, gardens, entertainment, public transport and both bike and walking routes.
AECOM chief executive Australia New Zealand, Michael Batchelor said the development of â€œvibrantâ€ and sustainable urban environments like Green Square is a â€œcornerstoneâ€ of the companyâ€™s approach to making â€œbetter cities possibleâ€.
â€œGreen Square will contribute to a more liveable Sydney where residents have better access to quality facilities, parks, and transport links,â€ Mr Batchelor said.
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