New urbanism: mixed-use precincts that are shaping the future of inner city development

5 September 2016

You’ve no doubt already been to NewActon or perhaps you’ve visited Realm in Barton. Either way you would have experienced how mixed-use precincts are helping to revitalise cities and create sustainable communities.

Mixed-use precincts are a staple in modern urban renewal strategies and are seen as an efficient use of land and infrastructure by combining multiple land uses into a single development, usually bringing forth a diverse mix of residential, retail, commercial and entertainment spaces.

There are many benefits associated with mixed-use precincts; but some of the more obvious ones include the promotion of a sense of community and pride of place, the development of a self-sustaining economy where businesses are supported by people that live and work in the area and promotion of pedestrian and bicycle travel through greater internal connectivity.

From world-class restaurants to theatres and public gardens, the possibilities of what can be available at your doorstep in any mixed-use precinct are endless. Here are some examples of some well-established mixed-use precincts across Australia that have delivered a number of social and economic benefits and positively contributed to the city’s way of life.

NewActon, Canberra

Canberra has already started to embrace multi-use precincts with New Acton one of its stalwarts. NewActon is an award-winning precinct in the heart of Canberra, which has been renowned for its innovative and functional design. Apart from the high-rise apartments, luxury hotel and cafes, art is a focal point of the precinct, through its outdoor art collection, ongoing contemporary art program and in its architecture. www.newacton.com.au

East Village, Zetland

Located just three kilometres from the Sydney CBD, East Village is an award-winning precinct with modern apartments and a suite of urban community spaces to encourage a bustling community, like the market place on lower levels and the eat street dining precinct on level 1, an expansive sky park and public swimming pool. www.eastvillage.com.au

Honeysuckle, Newcastle

The Honeysuckle precinct was a turning point in Newcastle’s long-term urban renewal plans. Bringing new life to derelict industrial land and reusing existing heritage buildings, Honeysuckle has created a thriving new community with an eclectic mix of restaurants, bars and cafes, retail spaces, commercial office buildings, hotels and apartments. The precinct mirrors a five kilometre stretch of land along Newcastle harbour, with a promenade that connects the area to the remaining foreshore that makes it a popular destination for outdoor activities. www.honeysuckle.net

Trafalgar Lane, Brisbane

Inspired by Melbourne-style laneways, Trafalgar Lane is an exciting urban precinct located in Woolloongabba, just 1.5km from the Brisbane CBD. The precinct incorporates eight boutique retailers, commercial offices and 147 residential apartments. www.trafalgarlane.com

Darling Quarter, Sydney (pictured)

Darling Quarter is one of Sydney’s newest community precincts. The focal point is a free, large children’s playground with water games, climbing ropes, swings, slides, and a flying fox. There is also a diverse selection of food and retail outlets and a theatre. www.darlingquarter.com

Portside Wharf, Brisbane

Named Australia’s best mixed-use development in 2009, Portside Wharf is a successful residential and retail development in Hamilton with a cruise terminal that helps promote tourism. The Wharf is home to more than 35 food, fashion and health and beauty retailers with waterfront views to boot. www.portsidewharf.com.au

Realm Precinct, Barton

Located in the heart of Canberra, the Realm Precinct offers a diverse mix of accommodation, dining and commercial spaces, like the award-winning Hotel Realm, a five star luxury hotel located next to the Parliamentary Triangle and within walking distance to Parliament House, the National Gallery of Australia and the National Library of Australia.

GEOCON is excited for the future of Canberra and believes mixed-use developments will play a key role in the ongoing growth of the capital city. We have a number of proposed mixed-use precincts in the pipeline, including Section 200 in Belconnen, which when completed will become a world-class precinct designed for residents and community members alike.

A key feature will be the public Sky Deck that will become an entertainment space and offer spectacular views of Belconnen and Lake Ginninderra. Section 200 will be built around a large public square acting as the ‘heart’ of the development – complemented by activated internal laneways, ‘green’ stairs, retail and commercial spaces, restaurants and cafes, planters with wide footpaths, street trees, and bicycle parking. For more information please visit www.section200.com.au

We have also recently announced our plans to develop a 6200m2 site in Braddon into a new urban precinct complete with a 140-room apartment hotel under the Abode Hotels banner with an additional 350 private residential apartments, plus retail and restaurant offerings that will enhance the existing Braddon culture. The site at 92 Northbourne Ave is conveniently located on the Eloura Street light rail stop, which will further open up the city and enhance connectivity if the light rail goes ahead. The Braddon project will commence construction in late 2017 and will be ready for occupancy in early 2019.

Now is certainly a very exciting time to be in Canberra.

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