Northern Territory's Master Plan to revitalise Darwin CBD

The Northern Territory Government has launched its Civic and State Square Masterplan, which will map out how the city centre will be revitalised and transformed into a world-class tourist and cultural destination.

The State Square overhaul is a critical part of the historic $200 million City Deal, delivered in partnership with the Australian Government and City of Darwin.

As part of the deal, Darwin’s Civic and State Square precinct will be revitalised to create cool, green spaces for the whole community including families, friends and tourists to enjoy through activated spaces, events and public gatherings.

Enabling projects such as the underground car park have already commenced, to unlock green spaces with the removal of four heat generating above ground car parks.

The Masterplan has been developed in consultation with the local community and businesses to provide a map of areas for revitalisation, investment and upgrades in order to establish a thriving, beating heart in the CBD through greater connectivity.

Taylor Cullity Lethlean, in partnership with local award winning firm, Troppo Architects, Hully Liveris Design Com, and Irwin Consult Engineering Consultants designed the Masterplan.

Key features of the Masterplan include:

  • Large, flexible shaded lawns creating opportunities and added space for large scale concerts and events up to 7000 people
  • A signature Art Gallery featuring a Grand Verandah will be located next to the Central Heart, showcasing the Territory’s art collections, significant national and international travelling exhibitions, further activating the cultural space
  • An expressive Central Heart, featuring a large sculptural shade structure inspired by the vortex of a cyclone pattern
  • A Billabong Garden adjacent to the proposed Art Gallery site, displaying plants of the humid environment of the Territory
  • A lively café space, as well as ample room for displays, pop-ups and stalls
  • An extensive, interactive water-feature drawing crowds through the theatre of water play, and a chance to cool down, with playful seating reminiscent of the unfurling of cycad and fern fronds of the tropical North
  • At night-time, an atmospheric star-like lighting reminiscent of the Top End’s big night skies
  • A playful water wall when illuminated becomes a canvas for interpreting Darwin and the Territory’s living history
  • Pedestrian focused tropical walks and generous sheltered walkways throughout
  • Shaded and sculptural gardens across key infrastructure including white trunked Eucalyptus, Sand Palms and Cycads, as well as Porcellanite Stone providing a backdrop for Aboriginal Sculptural works and Territory Artists

The Masterplan will be delivered in stages, with work set to start this year on a lush, cool garden above the State Square Underground Car Park that is nearing completion.

Community feedback on how the new spaces can be used is now invited through the exhibition at the Activate Darwin Hub in Smith Street Mall.

The redevelopment of Civic and State Square will be delivered in partnership with the Northern Territory Government and the City of Darwin. 

The Darwin City Deal will also see the establishment of a Charles Darwin University campus and student accommodation in the CBD – bringing in around 1000 students to the city centre.

The first stage of the Masterplan works will commence in late 2019.

Northern Territory Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, Eva Lawler, said, “Now the Masterplan has been launched the redevelopment of Civic and State Square will provide more opportunities for local businesses to be involved and create local jobs in our community.

“The Masterplan was created in consultation with more than 30 key community and local government stakeholders to gain their aspirations and ideas about space and it builds on the current work our Government is doing at the State Square Underground Car Park, Austin Lane, Cavenagh Street and Garramilla Boulevard.

“Our City will become a tropical, green, cool and shaded relaxing oasis that will provide a spacious place for events, festivals, gatherings and displays.

Member for Port Darwin, Paul Kirby, said, “Every great city has a lively and activated city centre, and the Civic and State Square Masterplan is a stunning representation of our city’s great potential.

“This landmark initiative will be a key driver in revitalising our CBD and making it a much loved destination for visitors, attracting new residents and encouraging broader investment. This is also a boost to local businesses and a boost for local jobs.

“The Masterplan celebrates our rich history, and aims to tell the stories of the landscapes that transcends into a public space designed to be highly memorable, rejuvenating and ever changing for our community and visitors.”

City of Darwin, Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis, said, “The Civic and State Square Masterplan reflects our unique history, culture and lifestyle and establishes a beautiful green heart in Darwin City.

“Incorporating an Art Gallery, multi-purpose outdoor spaces, water features and lush tropical landscaping, the Masterplan is a stunning vision for Darwin that is cool and green, vibrant and creative, and attractive place to gather for visitors and locals alike.

“The Masterplan is a testament to a positive collaboration between the City of Darwin, the NT Government, traditional owners and the best architects in Australia.”

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