Large scale mixed-use urban renewal projects have been increasingly occurring in Australian cities over the past three decades. These megaprojects represent a type of urban development occurring widely around the world in varying city contexts that share an economic and political rationale. With a number of these projects built or at various stages of their necessarily long construction periods it is now possible to evaluate the results, or progress, and begin to better understand what the built outcomes and delivery processes are like. An evaluation of megaprojects is particularly timely in the context of Sydney, considering the recent announcement by the New South Wales Government to develop “The Bays Precinct”; 80 hectares of government owned, predominantly post-industrial waterfront land within 2km of Sydney’s city centre.
This paper presents a literature review on the global emergence of mixed-use megaprojects with reference to the Australian condition. It then attempts to distil the key criticisms of these projects at a global perspective, followed by examples of Australian megaprojects where these qualities are evident. The literature reveals that megaprojects around the world are widely criticised on democratic, economic and social grounds yet they appear only to be gaining momentum as a method of delivering commercial, housing and transport infrastructure. The findings suggests that in light of emerging evidence a reevaluation of the objectives, planning processes, and delivery methods of megaprojects is warranted.
Mike Harris. The University of Sydney.