Western Sydney Parklands: Australia’s Largest Urban Park

Linda Corkery & Noel Corkery, IUCN PARKS Journal 21.1 – March 2015

The important role of large urban parks in biodiversity conservation is becoming more widely recognized. Because many large urban parks contain substantial areas that meet the IUCN definition of ‘protected area’ there is an urgent need for management to protect them from threats posed by more intense recreation uses and a range of environmental impacts. Sustainable development principles applied to the management of large urban parks can achieve a balance between protecting biodiversity values and providing opportunities for visitors to engage with, enjoy and appreciate nature. This paper makes the argument for greater recognition of the need to incorporate sustainable development principles in the planning, design, development and management of large urban parks to achieve a balance between biodiversity conservation and the wide range of other roles and functions they are required to perform. The 5,280 ha Western Sydney Parklands provide valuable lessons on how sustainable development principles can be applied to protect and manage biodiversity values while offering a diverse range of recreation facilities to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population in western Sydney. The Parklands also demonstrate a model for economic sustainability that could be relevant to other large urban parks located in major cities.

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Digitising Landscape Architectures Series on Land8

Packenham, J 2014, ‘Digitising Landscape Architecture’, Land8, May-June 2014.

The built environment professions are more in demand than ever – but are landscape architects adopting new technologies at the same pace as our contemporaries?

When working in the public arena, architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) professionals, including landscape architects, continue to jostle for position in large multidisciplinary projects. As landscape architects, we may need to be willing to break from the standard training of particular software packages and embrace new technologies and workflows, as well as rethink how we collaborate with other professionals and participate in project teams, if we are to significantly affect project outcomes.

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Out-In-Side - 2013 World Landscape Art Exposition, Jinzhou China

‘Out-In-Side – 2013 World Landscape Art Exposition’, Landscape Middle East, January 2014, pp28-33.

The 2013 China Jinzhou World Landscape Art Exposition incorporated 20 gardens that resulted from an international design competition in early 2011. The theme of the expo “landscape architecture and garden arts unite all peoples: world civilizations, world cultures come together in Jinzhou” encouraged all landscape architects to reflect their own cultural background in designing contemporary gardens within the expo site. Eladio Hernando was one of 20 landscape architects whose design concepts were selected for construction at the expo. His proposal title OUT-IN-SIDE is a simple/unpretentious design that updates the Spanish enclosed atrium in to an open cloister connected with its surroundings.

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La Perouse Headland Coastal Walk + Loop Road Project, Sydney NSW

Corkery, N 2013, ‘La Perouse Coastal Walk + Loop Road Project Sydney NSW’, Landscape Middle East, September 2013, pp 42-47.

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Coastal Walkway, Sydney, Australia

Corkery, N 2013, ‘Coastal Walkway, Sydney, Australia’, Chinese Landscape Architecture, vol. 29, pp 32-36.

Spectacular vertical sandstone cliffs up to 40 metres high alternating between sandy beaches characterise the iconic coastline of Sydney, Australia. Along the section of coastline between Sydney Harbour and Botany Bay dramatic cliff-top panoramic views extend along the coast and out over the Pacific Ocean. Crashing waves and a swirling ocean form a dynamic interplay between ocean and land.

While the public can easily access the coastal beaches some sections of cliff top are more difficult, with access provided by informal tracks or prevented completely in some locations. In response to increasing demand for public access to this section of the Sydney coastline, Waverly and Randwick City Councils are progressively developing the Coastal Walkway, which will ultimately extend from the southern headland of Sydney Harbour to La Perouse Headland at Botany Bay, a distance of approximately 30km.


La Perouse Headland Path Sydney NSW

Corkery, N 2013, ‘La Perouse Headland Path Sydney NSW’, the public domain, Issue 17 March 2013, pp 7-8.

Sydney’s La Perouse Headland has long been a place of cultural significance to both indigneous and European Australians. So when Randwick City Council decided to improve access to the across the site, it had to tread carefully – quite literally. The result is a new pedestrian pathway and parking area that is as understated as it is functional – a contemporary, respectful response to the unique site conditions and access requirements of this important landmark…

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Refurbishing a Heritage Site

Corkery, N 2012, ‘Refurbishing a Heritage Site’, Public Works Professional, September-October 2012, pp 36-37.

La Perouse Headland is an area of cultural and natural values, thanks to its picturesque landscape and historical heritage. Located 14 kilometres south east of the Sydney CBD on the north shore of Botany Bay, the area is a favourite for tourists, scuba divers and history buffs. However, years of heavy use and inadequate infrastructure had left it in poor condition…

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Madrid Rio – Spain’s Commitment to the Public Domain

Corkery, N & Hernando, E 2012, ‘Madrid Rio – Spain’s Commitment to the Public Domain’, Chinese Landscape Architecture, vol. 28, pp 64-67.

Walking the streets of Madrid one is constantly presented with the legacy of more than 1400 years of urban growth and adaptation of the Spanish capital. Public life in Madrid is largely played out in the incredible system of streets and plazas that are typically surrounded by cafés  restaurants and shops, overlooked by mid-rise apartment buildings. The plazas are a record of the history of Madrid with the central medieval centre of the city extending back more than a thousand years to the Moors…

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