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The Griffins' 1912 inspirational vision of Canberra’s city centre lay the foundations of today’s precinct known as ‘Civic’ which includes the key public spaces of City Walk and Garema Place. A once-bustling street open to traffic, the ‘Walk’ was created in 1971 when a section of Alinga Street was pedestrianised. Today, City Walk is a 400-metre pedestrian space, lined with shops, cafes, bars and businesses.
In 2019, the Authority asked the community and stakeholders about they wanted for Civic’s public spaces. As part of this consultation, it became clear their clear preference was for City Walk to be a more attractive destination to spend time in, rather than just a way to get from A to B. This feedback, combined with retail and movement studies, and reports and research conducted by ACT Government on numerous initiatives in the Civic area over the past decade are all being used to create a place plan for City Walk, Garema Place, Ainslie Avenue and Petrie Plaza.
While work on some of the place plan’s more complex issues continues, we identified some renewal actions that could be taken in City Walk right now to make the area better. More information about the consultation that has informed this project can be found here.
In 2020, the ACT Government committed to upgrade and revitalise City Walk, making it a more attractive, accessible and welcoming space for people to use, relax and connect.
From late July 2020 the City Renewal Authority began construction on major landscape improvements to the section of City Walk between Garema Place and Ainslie Place. Designed by renowned landscape architectural practice, T.C.L and undertaken by First Nations construction company, Rork Projects, the upgrade has brought new life to an underused part of our city centre, reinvigorating the heart and soul of Civic.
A selection of new street furniture has been included to create spaces for people to sit , eat and spend time catching up with friends and family or simply enjoy a break in the heart of the city. Seats, bench’s, stools, chaise lounges, high tables, coffee tables, chairs and seating walls comprise the new furniture additions. The furniture under the trees are made with robust frames and sustainably sourced timber.
Where needed, the Authority has repaired the existing pavement throughout the project area to ensure the space is attractive, accessible and safe.
The upgrade includes 635 square metres of lawn to provide opportunities for relaxation, play and enjoyment the year-round. The lawns have been installed at ground-level for easy access and this area will be great for picnics or just to stretch out and take-it easy.
The Authority replaced seven underperforming plane trees with 12 new advanced Japanese Elms and a grove of 11 contrasting silver birches. These deciduous trees have been chosen for their suitability to grow well in these city conditions while providing shade in summer and sunlight in winter.
The existing public artworks ‘Ainslie’s Sheep’ and ‘Bush Pack’ will be maintained at City Walk. Ainslie’s Sheep have been moved to new locations in the lower lawn in the same area. We have taken the opportunity provided by the upgrade to repair vandalism to Ainslie’s Sheep and it will be reinstalled once this work has been completed. Bush Pack is temporarily located at the north end of City Walk. ArtsACT is considering and investigating the repositioning of the dogs to run clear of the gardens and we are working closely with them to undertake this work.