The City of Sydney’s fastest-growing neighbourhood has received national recognition as one of Australia’s most sustainable communities, according to a prestigious certification program.
Green Square town centre in Sydney’s inner south has been awarded a 6 Star Green Star – Communities rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.
The rating recognises the sustainable planning, design, and construction of large-scale development projects across the country, including buildings, offices and community precincts.
Six stars is the highest possible rating, denoting ‘world leadership’ in the areas of governance, liveability, economic prosperity, environment and innovation.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the certification recognises 15 years of dedicated work from City staff.
“I am incredibly proud that the City of Sydney has become the first local government in NSW to receive a 6 Star Green Star rating for the Green Square town centre,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Green Square was earmarked for urban renewal by the NSW Government in 1996, but there had been little progress by the time I was elected Lord Mayor in 2004.
“We set out to make Green Square an exemplary model for sustainable, high density living in Sydney by embedding green infrastructure into our planning.
“Because of this commitment, Green Square town centre features one of Australia’s largest urban stormwater recycling schemes, as well as tree-lined, low-speed streets and extra-wide footpaths, self-watering raingardens, separated cycleways, and LED street lights.
“It’s also socially responsible, with 104 affordable housing units in the Green Square town centre allowing key workers to live close to their places of work, which reduces congestion and enhances wellbeing.
“We have also invested $540 million to ensure our residents and workers have the infrastructure they need.
“This includes the 5 Star Green Square library and plaza, with its own wastewater system and innovative measures to reduce energy used for cooling, and the future Gunyama Park aquatic and recreation centre, which will be heated and powered by its own locally produced energy system.
“In Green Square, we’ve shown that high density living can be created with environmental, social and economic sustainability in mind and this award is a fantastic recognition of our efforts.”
Green Square’s town centre sits at the heart of one of Australia’s biggest urban renewal areas, just 3.5 kilometres from the city centre. When complete, it will be home to around 7,500 residents and 8,600 workers.
The City’s work in Green Square includes:
· Green Square library and plaza – opened in late 2018, Green Square’s spectacular underground library features an amphitheatre, reading garden, café, technology lab, music room and dedicated children’s area, along with an outdoor plaza for community events. The building was awarded a 5 Star Green Star – Design rating for its wastewater system and low energy displacement ventilation system within the library bookshelves.
· Gunyama Park aquatic and recreation centre – set to open in 2020, the centre will be the largest pool complex built in Sydney since the 2000 Olympics. It will feature indoor and outdoor heated pools, a gym, covered outdoor yoga deck, cafe and crèche, as well as outdoor multipurpose sports facilities. The centre will be heated and powered by its own locally produced energy system.
· Green Square community and cultural precinct – opened in mid-2018, the award-winning precinct sits on the former South Sydney Hospital site in the heart of the town centre. It features heritage buildings that have been refurbished as a creative centre, community shed, childcare centre and green infrastructure centre, as well as a park and public artwork.
· Parks – more than 40 parks are being built across the wider Green Square area, including large open spaces like the Drying Green and Gunyama Park, children’s playgrounds like Wulaba Park and dozens of community pocket parks.
· Stormwater – a new two kilometre underground stormwater drain from Epsom Road in Zetland to Shea’s Creek channel in Alexandria has significantly reduced the risk of flooding in the town centre, which sits on a floodplain. A water recycling plant on the former South Sydney Hospital site treats water from the drain so it can be used by thousands of residents across the town centre for washing clothes, flushing toilets and in parks and gardens.
· Streets network – hundreds of new street trees, self-watering raingardens, extra-wide footpaths, elegant bronze street furniture, bright LED lights and wayfinding signs highlighting the history of Green Square are making the area greener, safer and more attractive. People walking and riding bikes are being prioritised with pedestrian-only zones, separated cycleways and low-speed streets.
· Affordable housing and accommodation – the City’s affordable housing scheme has seen private developments in the area help fund 104 affordable housing units for essential workers on lower wages, built by City West Housing. Under the City’s accommodation grants program, facilities in the town centre have been leased to groups providing community and cultural services in the area.
· Public art – a range of permanent and temporary artworks explore the area’s history and culture, from Maria Fernanda Cardoso’s sandstone and bottle tree sculpture at the community and cultural precinct to Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro’s repurposed vintage aircraft suspended inside the library.
The City continues to work with and advocate for the state government to bring education, health and especially more public transport services to the area.
The City has already worked with developers to preserve a corridor through the area for future public transport, including light rail, and successfully negotiated the removal of the train station access fee.
The City has collaborated with utility companies, transport providers, the NSW Government developer Landcom and other developers including Mirvac, an expert design advisory panel and local residents and businesses to plan, design and build the new town centre.