Urban development

20 Nov 2020

One of the most successful aspects of the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 was the transformation of Homebush Bay, a run-down area of the city which was previously used for abattoirs and depositing liquid waste.

The centre of this highly contaminated wasteland was transformed into Sydney Olympic Park, as part of a complete renovation of the district. Between 1999 and 2000, 5,660 new housing units were built in the Homebush Bay vicinity, with office blocks and stylish apartments constructed in the centre of the park. Following the Games, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia relocated 3,500 staff to one of these new offices within Homebush Bay. Nearby brownfield sites were also redeveloped, with new residential hotspots emerging in Newington, The Waterfront and Mariner’s Cove.

Ahead of the Games, central Sydney also underwent considerable refurbishment as part of a long-term strategy to make the city more attractive for working, living and visiting by improving various public amenities and increasing the amount of green space.

Major public parks, plazas and city sidewalks were completely redesigned, repaved and furnished with modern street lighting and newly planted trees. As just one example of the many central refurbishments, a city block in front of Sydney’s striking cathedral was redeveloped in order to enhance views of its classical Gothic architecture through the creation of a new public plaza, complete with an adjoining park and underground swimming pool.

The creation of Sydney Olympic Park became the focal point of the drive to accelerate urban development ahead of the Games, and it continues to leave an enduring legacy. It is currently home to 230 businesses and boasts more than 14 million visitors a year, through hosting various events.

Since 2010, the Sydney Olympic Park Authority has been working towards a 2030 masterplan, aimed at sustainably developing and enhancing the park’s role as a destination for cultural, entertainment and sporting events in Sydney, with the intention of creating more than 30,000 jobs and committing to carbon zero by 2030.

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