A 20-year Master Plan to create a green boulevard and pedestrian-orientated destination

Words by Cloris Wang

Developing a more connected, vibrant, sustainable and meaningful place for the community of Maroubra

GroupGSA’s Urban Design and Landscape Architecture teams have been working with Randwick City Council on the development of Maroubra Junction Public Domain Master Plan.

Over the past two weeks the project reached a significant milestone as it was released to the public for Community Consultation by Randwick City Council – review the scheme on their website here.

Find out more about this city shaping project, in the following Q&A with Cloris Wang, Associate.

What was the design brief and how did you respond to it?

The Maroubra Junction Public Domain Master Plan was a complex project that required the involvement of a diverse consultant team to ensure its success. The project was completed in two stages: Stage One – Issues paper, and Stage Two – Public Domain Master Plan.

During Stage One, the team undertook an extensive site appraisal to gain a thorough understanding of the site. This involved analyzing both the physical and strategic context of the site, including factors such as spatial layout, environmental considerations, cultural significance, historical significance, and transport connectivity. This initial analysis allowed the team to identify key issues and opportunities that needed to be addressed in the subsequent stages of the project.

Building on the insights gained during Stage One, the team moved on to Stage Two, where they developed the Public Domain Master Plan. This plan outlined a comprehensive strategy for the Maroubra Junction public domain, which included proposals for the physical design of the area, as well as recommendations for how the space could be used to enhance the community’s social and economic wellbeing.

Throughout the project, the consultant team worked closely with local stakeholders, including residents, businesses, and community groups, to ensure their views and concerns were considered. This collaborative approach helped build support for the project and ensure that the resulting plan was viable and sustainable in the long term.

The success of any urban planning project relies on the adoption of a rigorous methodology underpinned by sound urban design principles. For the Maroubra Junction Public Domain Master Plan, our team utilized a holistic city design approach that involved creating a master plan and design framework for the Maroubra Junction Town Centre.

One of the key elements of our methodology was the development of a whole-of-site plan that articulated the urban logic for the precinct. This plan was based on a set of design principles that provided a framework for the efficient realization of a successful and coherent public domain that aligned with the community’s aspirations. These design principles were grounded in a thorough understanding of the site’s physical, social, and cultural context and informed by best practices in urban design.

To ensure the project’s long-term success, we also explored a vision for the future transformation of the precinct through the creation of ‘Big Idea’ sketches. These sketches represented innovative transport and traffic solutions that would create a lively, pedestrian-oriented destination for the community. This long-term vision allowed us to plan for the future growth and development of the precinct in a way that was sustainable and responsive to the community’s changing needs.

We remained committed to a collaborative approach throughout the project, working closely with local stakeholders to ensure that the resulting master plan and design framework reflected their needs and aspirations. By incorporating the perspectives of the community into the project, we were able to create a public domain that was both functional and beautiful, enhancing the quality of life for all who live, work, and visit Maroubra Junction.

The development of the Master Plan emphasises the creation of:

  • A high-quality built environment sensitive to existing character, culture and heritage;
  • A vibrant Town Centre economy, stimulating private investment and ongoing renewal;
  • Welcoming, walkable and comfortable public domain;
  • A Town Centre identity that is meaningful to residents and attractive to visitors;
  • Environmentally sustainable;
  • Improved community access and amenity;
  • An integrated transport approach considering all modes of transport and travel;
  • Stimulation of Maroubra Junction Night Time Economy.

How does the design promote connection across the space?

To create a successful town centre for the community of Maroubra, it was important to curate a balance between comfortable and attractive streetscape, playful civic amenities, and active commercial spaces. These elements contribute to making the town centre accessible, safe, and inviting for individuals and groups alike.

A vibrant streetscape is crucial for the success of any town centre. It refers to how easy and safe it is for people to access retail outlets, civic services, and transportation. It also includes the quality and frequency of comfortable public amenities that are provided within the public domain. Maroubra Junction, will benefit from increased activation, enhanced public spaces, and greater pedestrian amenity. This will encourage people to stay longer, meet their needs, and benefit the local community as a whole.

To achieve this, street furniture and planting will be reimagined to represent a more varied and attractive public domain, with greater presence throughout the Town Centre and in key destinations. This will create a visually appealing and comfortable environment that people will want to spend time in. Furthermore, increased lighting throughout its civic spaces will help activate Maroubra’s night-time economy and create opportunities for passive surveillance, making it a safer place for people to be.

The TfNSW Movement and Place Framework has been used to assess the place and achieve the Maroubra Junction vision and design principles for a quality public domain. This framework underpins the concept design for the overarching typologies of streetscape and places. By using this framework, the town centre can be designed and developed in a way that is sustainable, accessible, and responsive to the needs of the local community.

How did you consult with relevant community or cultural groups to ensure the project was sensitive to its place and culture.

A key component of the project was the consultation with the community and stakeholders, including Consultation Workshops, Community Walks and Online Survey.

The engagement process aimed to capture the community values within Maroubra Junction and areas for improvement and change. These were key considerations in the development of the urban design framework and public domain master plan.

By and large the issues paper presented and interpreted the qualitative analysis of the precinct along with the capturing community aspirations to aid in the formulation of the draft urban design framework and public domain master plan.

A community consultation workshop and two community walks were held in 2021. Various themes derived from site analysis were reviewed to provoke discussion.
Themes discussed included public open space, parking, walkability, transport and future character.

Most participants recognised the quality of public domain and pedestrian priority as essential for a thriving Maroubra Town Centre. Participants wished to see improved pedestrian access and recreational spaces for community. They envisioned a range of public realm areas that accommodate social activities and cultural interventions.

How does the landscaping incorporate best practice sustainability/biodiversity principals in the design?

Creating a regenerative environment was a key principle to our master plan. By integrating a network of urban tree canopies, increasing landscape area with water sensitive urban design and applying climate positive design solutions in materiality, we looked to create a resilient and healthy city that coexists in nature. Our landscape team developed ‘place’ specific design concepts with their expertise in place-making solutions, streetscape enhancement through urban elements, planting selection and climate positive design solution for the efficient realisation of a successful and coherent public domain that is commensurate with the aspirations of the community.

For an overview of the Maroubra Junction Town Centre Master Plan, click here.

Get in touch

Cloris Wang Author

Cloris, an Associate and passionate urban designer, is dedicated to enhancing city livability by designing desirable, climate-resilient, green, and engaging places for communities. Her international experience from projects in Singapore and China and her strong portfolio of work across Australia underscores her global perspective and adaptability.