With providing a 360-degree scenic view of the city, Sydney Park is a lush green parkland filled with wetlands in the inner-west suburb of Alexandria in Sydney. With a coverage of about 44 hectares, the park is home to a variety of flora and fauna (Max & Ali, 2022). The park is the third largest park in the Inner Sydney area (2023). Though the park has been in place since 1991, the redesign and construction including some of the areas of heritage significance were completed in 2019 by Turf Design Studio, an architectural design and planning studio located in Sydney (2023).

Sydney Park by Turf Design Studio - Sheet1
Aerial View of Sydney Park depicting the expansive parkland and wetlands in inner west Sydney _© https://cdn.yournet.space/good-design.org/2016/04/Sydney-Park-Water-ReUse-Project_01_Ethan-Rohloff-Photography.jpg

Urban Aspects with heritage significance

The northwest side of the park has a heritage-listed area. This part has a history of brick manufacturing and is still preserved. There is a massive sports oval field named Alan Davidson Oval located on the northeast side. With a total of four wetlands, Wirrambi, Guwali, Bunmarra and Gilbanung, spread across the centre of the park, acting as the spine thriving the lush greens, the park has an extensive water-reuse treatment system (2023). The names of these wetlands have been inspired by various aboriginal languages that mean bats, birds, lizards, and grasshoppers respectively (Inner West Courier Inner City 2015). The design utilises various elements of public art by artists like Jennifer Turpin and Michaelie Crawford. The terracotta pipes utilised in water recycling and treatment are one such example of public art pieces (2023).

Sydney Park by Turf Design Studio - Sheet2
Map of Sydney Park illustrating the four wetlands and water treatment process and location _© https://www.archdaily.com/793523/sydney-park-water-re-use-project-turf-design-studio-plus-environmental-partnership-alluvium-turpin-plus-crawford-dragonfly-and-partridge/57b4dedde58ecea57b00003a-sydney-park-water-re-use-project-turf-design-studio-plus-environmental-partnership-alluvium-turpin-plus-crawford-dragonfly-and-partridge-diagram

Ecosystem Services

The park caters to various forms of ecosystem services. With recreational services like sports exhibited in the great Oval and skater area, the plantation of trees and plants that act as habitats for animals, reptiles and birds and the introduction of various mechanisms and techniques of water-sensitive urban design (WSUD), Sydney Park provides cultural, supporting and regulating services (Max & Ali, 2022). Further, the park recognises the limitation of water and harvests the stormwater from the Newtown water catchment. This extensive spread of green-blue infrastructure throughout the park helps in mitigating the urban heat island effects as well.

Sydney Park by Turf Design Studio - Sheet3
Wetlands exhibit the interaction of biodiversity and humans with nature _© https://awards.design/govaus16/project.asp?ID=14663


The integration of blue and green infrastructure along with the urban elements of recreation and public access creates an expansive environment for the native biodiversity to flourish. Multiple bio-retention pits throughout the park provide specie specific habitats (LaRance). The park creates a sensitive environment that promotes inter-species interaction along with human-nature interaction.

Sydney Park by Turf Design Studio - Sheet4
Water Harvesting technique utilised for waste and flood water management from Newtown catchment _© https://awards.design/govaus16/project.asp?ID=14663.

The new design has created a variety of vegetation beds that creates a continuous green connection. This set of plantations provides a continuous corridor for smaller species like superb fairy-wren birds to perform a variety of activities and interactions (LaRance). Since this green is spread over a massive footprint, it activates the measures to lower the environmental temperature, further resulting in urban heat mitigation. The park has a variety of activity zones that are publicly accessible. These zones cater to all age groups. From a playground with swings for kids to a skater park and oval for all age groups, Sydney Park provides something for everyone.

Sydney Park by Turf Design Studio - Sheet5
Playground with swings and various activities for kids _©https://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/playgrounds/sydney-park-playground
Skating Park designed in Sydney Park _©https://good-design.org/projects/sydney-park-skate-park/

Policies and Strategies

Other than building on the Sydney LEP (Local Environmental Plan) 2012, the park is planned and designed imbibing objectives and actions from various major plans and strategies affecting the elements (2014). These strategies are state as well as local government enforced and designed. The state policies reflected include the standard EPA (Environmental Planning and Assessment Act), State Environmental Planning Policy, Sydney Water Act 1994, and Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (2014). The planning and design of the park is also influenced by some of the local government policies. In this case, since the park falls under the City of Sydney government, some of the following plans include Greening Sydney Plan 2012, Urban Ecology Strategy Action Plan, Sustainable Sydney 2030, Urban Tree Management Policy and Cycle Strategy and Action Plan 2007-2017 (2014). By adhering to all these policies and getting inspired by them, the park has achieved various key principles of Biodiversity and Water Sensitive Urban Design as well.

Sydney Park exhibits various impactful principles and practices that reflect the integrated application of ecosystems. With key consideration to water reuse, the park provides a healthy environment for the habitat of existing species by creating new habitats for migrating species. The prime aim objective of promoting recreational outdoor activities has been successfully achieved with people from neighbouring as well as distant suburbs visiting (2023).

Reference List

Government Architect NSW, ‘Sydney Park Water Re-Use Project’, viewed 9 July 2023, https://www.governmentarchitect.nsw.gov.au/resources/case-studies/2017/11/sydney-park

Inner West Courier Inner City, 2015, ‘Sydney Park wetlands to be named in Aboriginal language to commemorate history’, viewed 9 July 2023, https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/inner-west/sydney-park-wetlands-to-be-named-in-aboriginal-language-to-commemorate-history/news-story/260e12baf3c7e59de84d153609d75ba3

LaRance D, ‘Sydney Park wetlands: Major works, creation and history, viewed 9 July 2023, https://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/improving-streets-public-spaces/sydney-park-wetlands-major-works-creation-and-history

Max , M, & Ali , D 2022 , Stabilising and landscaping the Sydney Park brick kilns and surrounds, viewed 9 July 2023, https://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/proposed-works-maintenance/proposed-design-stabilising-landscaping-sydney-park-brick-kilns-surrounds

Sydney Uncovered 2023, ‘19 Best Parks in Sydney You Need to Visit’, viewed 9 July 2023, https://sydneyuncovered.com/sydney-parks/

The City of Sydney, Sydney Park: Plan of Management 2014, prepared by The City of Sydney Council, Sydney, NSW


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