The City Plan


Priority Projects

The ACT Government has identified five priority projects to set the City Plan in motion, with some projects already being implemented.

These projects will help deliver the broad range of City Plan outcomes through a mix of land release and new development, capital works and redevelopment. A ‘city centre out’ approach will make use of existing capacity in already developed areas of the city centre and maximise opportunities in West Basin and the waterfront.Improving connections across the city and to Lake Burley Griffin and expanding cultural and business facilities will support economic and recreational activity in the city centre, adding to its vibrancy and viability. An underpinning transport and movement framework is required to support these activities and improve access for all people to the city centre.

The following priority projects have been identified for early focus for planning and delivery.


Transport and movement (Phase 1)

This project will be undertaken in conjunction with the urban design framework.  It will develop options to lessen the impacts of through-traffic in the city centre. The project will examine public and private transport and parking at both overall system and local levels.

A city centre where pedestrians, cyclists and public transport move easily through and across the city can be achieved in the short term.

It is possible – and important – to reduce the number of north-south trips through the city centre by providing alternative routes and improving existing routes. Major peripheral parkway works, including the Gungahlin Drive Extension and Majura Parkway, will make it easier for people to travel between districts without travelling through the city centre. Supporting this will be a range of traffic management and public transport improvements.

Through traffic will be gradually diverted away from Northbourne Avenue and Vernon Circle through a reconfiguration of the traffic within the city centre. Only local traffic would operate in the centre, making it easier for pedestrians and improving connectivity across the city centre. Giving priority to public transport through the city would make public transport a more viable and attractive option for patrons and support better access to business and services across the city centre.

A transport and traffic strategy for the city centre would ‘prove up’ this approach and identify possible changes and other options that could be implemented. The strategy would look at the overall system, including public transport, active travel and parking, down to local level actions.


Redevelopment of the Allawah, Bega and Currong (ABC) flats

The redevelopment will build more than 1,000 new residential units in the city centre, offering better amenity and public facilities while maintaining pedestrian connections to transport networks and the CBD.

This project looks to deliver over 1000 residential units in the city centre with improved amenity and public areas. Community facilities and pedestrian connections to transport will be maintained and the development will create employment and recreation opportunities. The project will deliver a wide range of City Plan and broader government policy outcomes.


City to the Lake proposals

The government will progress site investigations, feasibility studies and business case development on the West Basin lake foreshore, Parkes Way ‘smart boulevard’, convention centre, aquatic centre and Canberra theatre and stadium projects to support future government decisions.

The City to the Lake project will create a new public waterfront by connecting the city centre across City Hill and Parkes Way to Lake Burley Griffin’s West Basin. The project includes several important civic projects and new development in the West Basin area.

A number of initiatives in the City to the Lake proposal are identified as priorities:

Parkes Way could become a ‘smart boulevard’ where through-traffic travels below surface level and local traffic at surface level. This will allow for pedestrian connectivity at ground level, make vehicle and pedestrian access to the lake easier and open investment opportunities for residential and other development in West Basin.

City to the Lake also seeks to open the lake’s edge to a range of recreation and lifestyle opportunities in the city centre including boardwalks, an urban beach and some retail activity. There is strong community support for connection with the lake and for the lake to be more generally useable. This will only work with good access, so will rely, to a large degree, on the delivery of the Parkes Way project. Commencing investigations to create an active public waterfront is seen as a priority to provide the basis for future opportunities and investment in this area.

This priority project will further the site investigations and business cases for the Australia Forum and aquatic facility and feasibility investigations for the Canberra Theatre.


Economic development analysis

New policy will work to encourage development, redevelopment and re-use in the city centre.

Revitalising the city centre will require significant investment by the private sector in unused and under-utilised existing capacity. The city centre has a stock of low rise and low grade office space that offers real potential for investment as adaptive re-use or as new residential and other preferred land use outcomes.

Land releases indicated in the City to the Lake proposal also offer opportunities for economic diversification and development.

As the resident population grows and fills new release areas, consideration will be given to the location, type and ongoing viability of retail and other services across the city centre, particularly given its current dominance and intensity in the north-east sector of the city around the Canberra Centre. The reworking of Constitution Avenue will also provide opportunity for new retail and services.

The capacity of the city centre to expand and maintain levels of retail and commercial viability needs to be clearly understood and planned for to maximise market response. Planning analysis could identify the preferred amount and locations of particular land uses, such as retail, over time that can be best supported and delivered through a balanced mix of land release, new development and redevelopment of existing areas.

Recognising the value of private investment in delivering change in the city centre, the government could examine how to create an environment that will encourage development, redevelopment and re-use in the city centre. Options could include incentives for adaptive re-use, offset approaches (such as for parking) or streamlining administrative and regulatory requirements.


City centre urban design framework

The preparation of an urban design framework has commenced. This project will guide high quality building and capital works across the city, particularly for ‘gateway’ sites around City Hill and the Sydney and Melbourne buildings.

An urban design framework for the city centre would establish strong direction on built form and public realm and pick up on a number of threads in the Plan:

  • the need for the city to build and enhance a clean and strong identity and character
  • establishing gateway sites that clearly signal entry points to support that identity, and
  • achieving improved built form, design, sustainability and public realm outcomes.

The city centre urban design framework would provide guidance on elements of good urban design, including interaction with the public realm, sustainability measures, active uses, quality built form and integration of public transport and active travel and parking., It would guide design with respect to preferred areas for certain functions, facade treatments, public realm typologies and parking that contribute to the character areas and the overall centre.

The Sydney and Melbourne buildings and the sites flanking the eastern and western corners of Northbourne Avenue and London Circuit have been identified as gateway sites for a re-centred city core around City Hill. The framework could consider these sites separately, clearly signalling their significance for the future development and highlighting their character and planning heritage.

Other key sites around City Hill requiring more specific design guidance could include section 63 and sites for cultural facilities and the Australia Forum.


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