Expert panel helping to raise the bar for urban design in Newcastle

24 Aug 2023

An independent panel of experts are helping to set a new benchmark for urban design in Newcastle, working with City of Newcastle to evaluate major commercial, industrial, residential, community and civic developments proposed for the city.

The Urban Design Review Panel (UDRP) considered 71 items collectively worth more than $600 million during 2022, with a view to assess the design quality of development proposals and identify how they could be improved by design changes.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the annual report of the Panel, tabled at Tuesday's Council meeting, demonstrated their track record of ensuring design excellence for a number of significant developments, which will lead to positive outcomes for the community.

“City of Newcastle's Urban Design Review Panel is reputedly the oldest continuously serving urban design and architectural advisory body in the state of New South Wales," Cr Nelmes said.

"Newcastle is coming of age by transforming into a modern metropolitan city, with significant redevelopment occurring right across the Local Government Area.

"By strengthening the expertise of CN's existing team with a panel of independent design experts, City of Newcastle is achieving excellence in urban design."

The UDRP has considered a number of significant developments including both the landmark Dairy Farmers and The Store redevelopments in Newcastle West.

Urban Design Review Panel Chair Dr Philip Pollard also acted as CN's jury representative for two design competitions in 2022, including The East End Stage 3 and 4 redevelopment and $100 million redevelopment of the former Spotlight site in Newcastle West.

"The UDRP panel is continually looking for ways to take urban design excellence in Newcastle to a new level," Dr Pollard said.

“We are currently considering some exciting development applications and working together to strike a balance between sustainability and quality design outcomes.

"We are also looking for more ways to make connections to Country in the design of public domain spaces.

“Good design is not merely creating good looking public spaces and buildings. It is anchored in an understanding of city making, and in creating enduring, functional and uplifting environments, for work, recreation and living.”