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Conference paper


This paper explores the question of how urban parks function as urban icons. It examines Bicentennial Park in Homebush Bay, 12 km west of the Sydney Central Business District (CBD) as a case study. Bicentennial Park was planned and designed between 1983 and 1988, a time when Australia, and its cities in particular, grappled with tensions between celebrating achievements of two hundred years of European settlement and redressing the cultural and ecological harm wrought by those achievements. The research focuses on a review of material related to the design and promotion of the park, and early reviews of the park. The discussion explores the influence of specific ideas about the city and ecology on the transformations of use, materiality, and physical form of the land that became Bicentennial Park. Findings reveal that Bicentennial Park at Homebush Bay was conceived as an awkwardly scripted design, which in turn reflects a convergence of urban planning initiatives, intensifying environmental awareness and ideological tensions within the then nascent Australianbased profession of landscape architecture. The findings also reveal that, in this case, aesthetic innovation is not the basis of iconicity; more significant are the ways in which the form and materiality of a park design conveys shifts in ideas about the city and its relationship to ‘nature,’ and for landscape architecture, ways of practicing design.

Publication Details
Source Title: 
Proceedings of the 13th Australasian Urban History Planning History Conference 2016
Published year only: 
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