The NSW Government's vision is for Darling Harbour to remain a magnet for Sydneysiders as well as national and international visitors.

Darling Harbour already attracts about 25 million visitors a year and is home to the State's lucrative convention and exhibition industry.

However, Sydney needs to respond to the substantial improvement in the standard of equivalent facilities in Australia and the Asia-Pacific if the city is to realise its full potential in the convention and exhibition markets.

This means new world-class, contemporary facilities must be created, which will be unrivalled in Australia, to allow Sydney to tackle the Asia-Pacific market head on, providing capacity and flexibility for 'mega' conferences and a range of other major events.

At the same time, the NSW Government is taking a broader view of the precinct. It is looking beyond the need to deliver world class event facilities and considering the urban renewal necessary to regenerate this part of the CBD.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to breathe new life into the city by improving the public spaces at Darling Harbour, "knitting" it back into the CBD and Ultimo/Pyrmont and creating a whole new city neighbourhood that hums with activity.

The development is the biggest and most exciting transformation of Darling Harbour in more than 25 years and is part of the continuous evolution of Darling Harbour.

Urban design guidelines
To guide the development of plans for the renewal of Sydney's convention, exhibition and events precinct at Darling Harbour, Infrastructure NSW created Urban Design Guidelines. Download the guidelines. (PDF, 4.3Mb)

These guidelines were prepared to provide a framework for the realisation of the project, illustrating and describing the preferred character and nature of the new precinct and setting out key design excellence principles.

The consortia bidding for the project were required to adopt and then develop their plans for the site to meet the NSW Government's design objectives. The guidelines illustrate and describe the character of the project that the Government wanted to achieve.

The guidelines were informed by the Australian Government's national policy for Creating Places for People - a collective commitment to best practice urban design in Australia developed collaboratively between community groups, industry organisations and government.

The guidelines are extensive and include the following principles:

  • Creating new connections in the east-west and north-south direction
  • Using appropriate building height, alignment, form, grain and massing, and appropriate materials
  • Preserving significant view corridors
  • Minimising loss of solar access to the public realm
  • Preventing loss of privacy by overlooking of adjacent properties
  • Providing a new landmark on Darling Harbour
  • Presenting a new face to the city.

High level output specifications
The NSW Government set high level outcomes for the redevelopment project, including vision and objectives, design excellence and functional requirements. The two shortlisted consortia bidding for the project had to prepare detailed proposals based on project briefs issued by Infrastructure NSW and these outcomes, which outlined what the State wished to achieve. Download the specifications. (PDF, 450Kb)

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