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Vision for Circular Quay, Sydney

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Vision for Circular Quay
Circular Quay, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Sydney is a harbour city, and Circular Quay is not only where the city meets the harbour, but it is also the site of the first landing, and thus the birthplace of Australia. This has always been a place of national significance within Aboriginal and European Australian culture. It should reclaim its position as a place of national significance – a people place for gathering around significant events.

But because of its function as a transportation node and a lack of vision, the Quay has become dominated by infrastructure.

The removal of the Cahill Expressway presents the opportunity to transform Circular Quay into a grand urban room. Deleting the expressway wouldn’t impede traffic flow, as the Harbour Bridge and Harbour Tunnel connect North Sydney to the western CBD and the city’s eastern edges. Without the expressway, Circular Quay would be the gateway to Sydney that reconnects the city with the harbour and creates a people place. The narrow, dense foreshore around the ferries would be replaced with a generous public realm connecting to the new light rail. Busses and taxis are removed, creating more space. Under this vision, Customs House, the original government trade building, would once again reclaim its historic significance as the Quay’s centerpiece.

If Sydney is to be a Global City, it must celebrate its location on the harbour and create great places for people. This is a visionary infrastructure project that focuses on creating cities for people and the future.