Places to Love

Places to Love is a program of demonstration projects that trial improving walkable access to, and the quality of, local public space. The program is a collaboration between the NSW Government and a number of pilot councils across NSW to trial temporary changes that can inform and guide future upgrades to public space.

The demonstration projects are a way to quickly test how to make public spaces more vibrant and active using trials, pop-ups and semi-permanent changes to test ideas and build the case for longer-term change. Once complete, each project will develop a detailed case study that will be shared in the Great Places Toolkit.

We're working closely with partner councils across Sydney and regional NSW in a rolling program of Places to Love demonstration projects.

In round 1 we partnered with:

1. Blacktown City Council

2. Burwood Council

3. City of Sydney

4. Liverpool City Council

5. Penrith City Council

6. Wagga Wagga City Council.

In round 2 we are partnering with:

7. City of Parramatta

8. Cumberland City Council

9. Tweed Shire Council.

To find out more about the Places to Love program see the frequently asked questions (PDF, 99.54 KB).

Blacktown City Council

The Heart of Blacktown

Blacktown city centre is undergoing rapid change, with a growing population and major projects that mark a new era for living, education and employment. Located in this richly diverse city centre, this project saw council co-design a Place Identity and Place Framework with the community and other stakeholders. These documents will be shared once finalised.

The Place Identity sets a road map for activities, events and development in Blacktown’s CBD, to create a city centre that reflects the area’s unique qualities and responds to the needs and aspirations of the local community. Several pop-up activations in the city centre tested the findings in mid-2022.

The draft documents have already informed the delivery of a number of programs by council with NSW Government including Open Streets and Streets as Shared Spaces.

Burwood Council

A vibrant new linear plaza connecting people to the library and community hub

The project was completed in 2021 and included temporary and semi-permanent changes to support the creation of a new linear plaza connecting Burwood's upgraded library, community hub and council chambers to the town centre. It builds on council's strategic plan for a network of walkable vibrant laneways activated with local culture and food.

Community engagement for the project included a competition to rename the lane, changing from Hornsey Lane to Unity Place. The Unity Place project included three large murals to reflect the local community and ongoing Aboriginal culture, as well as landscaping, seating, smart poles, banners and decorative lighting. The new lane was celebrated with a Community Day, with an outdoor library pop-up, community group dancers and musicians, temporary sculptures, and a vibrant night market. Unity Place is now a place that brings people together.

City of Sydney

Trial to help transform a street into one of the world’s great boulevards

This demonstration project took place along the southern section of George Street. In 2020, City of Sydney temporarily tested the closure of the street to vehicles. It did this through installing vehicle barricades, new seating, a vibrant road painting installation and engagement with local business and community.

This created a place for people that allowed physical distancing and catalysed support for the evolution into a permanent change to the street, creating a green, car-free corridor for people. In 2021, informed by the success of the trial, council began the permanent pedestrianisation of this section of the street which was completed mid-2022.

Cumberland City Council 

Enhancing active transport connections between two vibrant local centres and railway stations. 

This project improved the walking and cycling connection between two vibrant local centres and railway stations at Auburn and Lidcombe, with 170 metres of footpath extension and colourful interventions, enhancing the amenity in the area.  

Complementing the new footpath, a beautiful footpath mural, street furniture, wayfinding signage, planter boxes and a bike repair station with a drinking fountain were installed at Wyatt Park in Lidcombe. These enhancements were celebrated with a bustling community event, featuring a free open-air cinema, sports games, local community stalls and free food stalls. A parklet with a lighting and greening canopy was also trialled in front of the Auburn Youth Centre, providing a welcoming breakout outdoor space and helping to enhance feelings of safety at night with the decorative fairy lights.

The community has become particularly attached to the beautiful footpath mural, which not only enhances civic pride, but with its historic magpie emblem, showcases the area’s local sporting history and character. The project leveraged its proximity to the sporting grounds at Wyatt Park and the local Auburn Youth Centre to create a cheerful and colourful space for the enjoyment of walkers and cyclists of all ages.

Liverpool City Council

Transforming a service vehicle laneway into a place for people

Liverpool is undergoing an exciting process of urban renewal. Railway Street Service Lane had low amenity and high pedestrian use. The project was completed in 2022 and improved the quality and walkability of this public space.

The project transformed a laneway with vibrant art created through community engagement that expresses the area’s cultural diversity. Rainbow street print, planter boxes with trees and flowers, seating and colourful umbrellas for shade transformed the street into a place for the community to enjoy.

Penrith City Council

Activating the community’s vision for Kingswood

The ‘Live, Work, Play Grid’ project created a better connected and active neighbourhood in Kingswood. Council worked together with the local community and businesses to co-design public space improvements along a 1.2 km pedestrian walking trail.

The project aimed to improve the area’s safety and walkability by upgrading places where the community can interact and gather. In September 2020, a night walk engagement with local women was hosted where the women shared their experiences and co-designed ways to improve safety in their neighbourhood. The project was delivered in early 2021 with improvements including playful wayfinding, creative lighting, new seating, tree planters embellished by a local artist, garden planters painted by the community, a handball court and a badminton net. It culminated in a free activation program which offered art workshops, community gardening sessions, urban nature tours, picnics, movie nights and night walks with women. The temporary trial has now informed permanent changes to the public space.

Tweed Shire Council

Vibrant activations and improved amenity in Jack Evans Boat Harbour

This demonstration project tested temporary place activations at Jack Evans Boat Harbour, attracting people to the parkland both day and night.

During the day, a mobile coffee kiosk allowed the community to stop and sip while relaxing in pre-loved furniture from Council’s own tip shop. Umbrella shading, tables and seating created welcoming and comfortable spaces for the community to connect. By night, Council hosted two extremely popular outdoor cinema events with hundreds of attendees in February 2023 and April 2023, supported and complemented by the local Twilight Markets.

Through the program, Council received great feedback from the community to guide the future use of this space, as well as other open spaces across the Tweed Shire. Many of the trial elements will be retained in Jack Evans Boat Harbour as a legacy of the project, such as additional plantings, shade and accessibility features, which will help to build community pride and enjoyment.

Wagga Wagga City Council

Reimagining Wagga Wagga’s city centre 

This project provided an opportunity to help the city centre of Wagga Wagga bounce back from challenges such as COVID-19, while supporting Council’s wider Live Local, Be Local activation plan for the city centre. From December 2020 to June 2021, the project transformed Baylis and Fitzmaurice Streets in the city centre into places for the community with public art, lighting, temporary furniture, mini-dining pop-ups, creative laneway treatments and music. 

The project culminated in a launch at the June 2021 Lost Lanes festival, which had thousands of people in attendance, supporting the night-time economic activity, connecting the community with local businesses and fostering community pride.

More information on the round 2 partner councils’ projects will be made available soon.