STOP #1: Sydney

12 11 2009

SYDNEY, Australia

Sydney is the largest city in Australia, and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney has a metropolitan area population of approximately 4.34 million and an area of approximately 12,000 square kilometres. Its inhabitants are called Sydneysiders, and Sydney is often called “the Harbour City”. The city is home to many prominent parks, such as Hyde Park, Royal Botanical Gardens and national parks. This is a major factor, along with Sydney Harbour that has led to the city’s reputation as one of the most beautiful in the world.

Out of all the cities I am traveling to as a part of my study, Sydney is the most similar to Seattle as they are both bustling urban cities with a strong connection to their waterfronts. I hope to compare and contrast the climate, geography, and marine habitat of each city to gauge if similar environmentally friendly seawalls could be feasibly built in Seattle.

An extensive seawall at McMahon’s Point in Sydney was recently rebuilt to revitalize the damaged wall and study how the ecosystems present state can be regenerated. A new sandstone façade implements deep rock-pools at different tide levels to renew the present aquatic life.

Also, a part of an old vertical concrete seawall at White Bay became unsafe and has been demolished and rebuilt. In its place, a new stepped design provides horizontal surfaces for sea life to live, as well as an opportunity to bring the person closer to the water.

Sydney is an ideal example of a densely populated urban city with an immediate connection to the sea. They are working to implement a set of coastline guidelines that, when followed, will standardize the use of smart seawalls. I propose to travel to Sydney to study and record my findings of their new and old seawalls, how they affect the environment, and how they connect the water to the urban fabric.

I will be visiting the above seawalls as well as meeting with local architects, engineers, and biologists that were involved in these projects and several other waterfront developments. I will be loading video and images as I travel so check back often!

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