Location: Hunter Valley NSW, Australia
Totaling over 4,000 hectares of land, Sweetwater occupies a strategic position within the Hunter Valley, approximately 2 hours north of Sydney by car. The site lies at the crossroads of the Hunter Valley’s transportation system and serves as a gateway to the regions wine country which is second only to the Margaret River Valley in the production of Australian wines. The land is mostly undeveloped but has a long history of mining which has left significant scars on the property. As part of the region’s comprehensive growth strategy, Hardie Holdings hired the firm with Roberts Day to develop a master plan for a new city.
To facilitate the completion of the regional plan, an analysis of future infrastructure development, population projections and growth trends in similar settings in other regions of the world were applied to the site and the surrounding area. The resulting City Plan is designed to accommodate a total population of 100,000 serving as a destination and employment center for the upper Hunter Valley and as a satellite city within the greater Sydney region. A University Campus will anchor the community which will also include a downtown providing 2,000,000m² of commercial space in the form of retail, office, and industrial.
The City Plan, the largest since the Master Plan for Canberra, integrates the natural environment in a system of parks and preserves within the various neighborhoods of Sweetwater. Proposed buildings will use “green architecture” principles and techniques to reduce energy consumption and natural resource waste. The main strategy used to accomplish a sustainable and green city, is the reduction in the need for car usage by residents and visitors. The mixed use and walkable site plan provides a park once and walk environment. In addition, because each neighborhood with the City of Sweetwater is structured on the five minute walk, the entire plan is transit-ready, allowing transit in the form of buses, trolleys, and trains to begin service once the population and job base reaches appropriate levels.
Hunter Valley regional structure
Central Coast regional plan
Hunter Valley regional map
Hunter Valley existing movement and access
Hunter Valley existing settlement pattern