Year 12 Urban Dynamics-Extended Response: Pyrmont Ultimo Research and Fieldwork Pyrmont-Ultimo is one of the fastest growing suburbs in Sydney.
Over the past century it has demonstrated changes as a result of urban decay and renewal, urban consolidation and most recently spatial exclusion. These urban dynamics are dominant in Pyrmont Ultimo and have contributed to the changing morphology of that area. Pyrmont-Ultimo has undergone distinctive changes between the 18th century and 21st century.It has been transformed from the former warehousing and industrial suburb into a thriving residential, commercial and business precinct. The original morphology of Pyrmont-Ultimo allowed the area to become very popular and attractive. The close proximity to Sydney city and the harbour/water initiated the trade and industry in Pyrmont-Ultimo. In 1811 the Europeans settlers developed the port facility which allowed easier movement of goods throughout the state. Overtime the area transformed into one of the busiest seaports in Australia and soon after industry arrived.
In 1858 the Pyrmont Bridge was constructed which furthered the growth in the area. Also as industry was continually expanding, further transport needs arose. So in 1870 a rail goods yard was completed to facilitate the growing requirements of industry. This new infrastructure allowed an avenue for the transport of goods, services and people into the area. Pyrmont-Ultimo became an important industrial and manufacturing area.
Many industries including the sandstone quarries and Colonial Sugar Refinery Company (CSR) were situated there.Warehousing and manufacturing of products such as wool and flour as well as electricity generation were also located there. The newer development of infrastructure and the arrival of industry encouraged the population to grow rapidly. This was a result of rising job opportunities in industrial areas, therefore by the late 19th century, 30 000 people now resided or were employed in Pyrmont-Ultimo.
Throughout the 20th century the industrial and economic needs in Pyrmont-Ultimo started to change. Sydney underwent decentralisation and as a result industry began relocating offshore and further from the city.This left the suburb obsolete with empty warehouses and factories, neglect of wharves and transport services and decline in quality housing. These factors of urban decay resulted in the sudden decrease in population, and by 1981 the population had dropped to 1590 people. The changes in Pyrmont-Ultimo are a result of intentional Government planning that began in the 1980’s. The City West Redevelopment program involving Government, community and private sectors has resulted in the varying urban dynamics present.The City West Redevelopment Program commenced in 1992. The aim was to renew the whole Pyrmont-Ultimo area by increasing the residential population.
This would be done through developing residential/commercial facilities, expanding the workforce as well as overall raising the socio-economic status of the area. Objectives of this redevelopment program included increasing employment opportunities, supporting the community through improvements in residential, recreation, transportation sectors. By 1999 a total of AU$1. Billion was spent on Pyrmont-Ultimo as part of the Redevelopment Program. By this time the City West Redevelopment Program was replaced by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA). The new SHFA continued to direct the remaining development of the area.
The Urban Dynamics present in Pyrmont-Ultimo observed from conducting primary/secondary research and fieldwork are urban decay and renewal, urban consolidation and most recently spatial exclusion. These dynamics are forces and processes which bring change in the area, while shaping the morphology of the area.Urban Decay is the deterioration of the urban environment and renewal is the redevelopment of such decayed areas. Urban renewal involves a change of ‘use’ of the specific area or buildings.
Pyrmont-Ultimo has transformed from urban decay, through the process of urban renewal which has enabled the area to become a thriving suburb near the city. Through conducting the fieldwork, the urban renewal of Pyrmont-Ultimo could be seen from the ferry in the harbour. The new gentrified estates for sale, the decaying and gentrified houses could be seen from the ferry.The Sydney Wharf is evidence of urban renewal and gentrification. The previous use of the wharf was manufacturing and commercial and the renewed present use is leisure, tourism and residential. This site was observed during the primary fieldwork and gentrification was noticed, as the wooden piers were replaced with concrete.
Through pre-fieldwork research the reasons for this change in ‘use’ was discussed as a result of globalisation, decentralisation and change in technology. The power station on Pirrama Road is another example of urban renewal in Pyrmont-Ultimo.The power station in the past was classified as an industrial use and was closed in 1963. The renewal process of this site attempted to conserve some of the original designs from the past. The round windows, sandstone layering, curved glass are all references made to past heritage history. It was found through discussion during the fieldwork that conservation is important as the facade shows preservation of economic context of the working past.
However the current use of the site is the City Casino Centre which is classified for leisure and tourism.This renewal has created the largest number of employment opportunities and has contributed to raising the economic status of the area. While observing Pyrmont Street during fieldwork, further locations of urban decay and renewal were sited. For example the location of the Taiwanese Restaurant on Pyrmont Street has undergone a change in use.
The previous use of that building was a manufacturing stain glass factory. It has now been renewed and gentrified to a commercial restaurant, to support the nearby community. Another example is the two semi-detached buildings on John and Point Street intersection.The first building is an example of decay and through observation and discussion the past use was classified as residential. The second building closely attached has been gentrified, the exterior re-painted, re-plastered and re-furbished while the interior has been completely stripped and renovated. The previous use is classified as residential while the new use is commercial leased office space. The rail cutting in Pyrmont-Ultimo is an example of urban renewal as the improved transport technology has enhanced the economic character of the area.The rail cutting was constructed in 1916 and was used for heavy rail, transportation of goods (wheat, coal) and people (navels, prisoners of war).
It was reopened in 1987 and the renewed use involves light rail, transporting people to the casino and other suburbs such as Glebe. Jones Bay Wharf is a wharf that has been renewed from a commercial, industrial use to a business (commercial) and leisure/tourism use. Today the wharf is a popular destination for business headquarters as well as Pyrmont-Ultimo, for example media and telecommunications industry are attracted to the area.Seven Network, Channel Ten, Foxtel, Nova Broadcasting are all examples of businesses and companies now located in Pyrmont-Ultimo. Further examples of urban decay and renewal include the Scott Street Cottages. The previous use of these buildings was residential and the present use is classified as commercial. The cottages have been renewed and restored into fine dining restaurants, for example ‘Viva Goa’ is an Indian restaurant situated inside a pre-existing cottage.
The streetscape was contrasted with the surrounding area of residential apartments, during the fieldwork methods of observation and sketching.Contrasts are evident in Pyrmont for example the intersection of Harris and John Street. A decaying restaurant/pub, renewed/gentrified bistro, renewed apartments and a decayed building are all present at this one intersection, which reveals the physical morphology that shows the past working life in the industrial area. Urban Consolidation is a policy aimed to increase population densities by constructing medium-high density housing on existing developed areas. It also covers the intensifying of residential development and maximising the use of existing services.This urban dynamic is one which Pyrmont-Ultimo has undergone.
Many sites and buildings in the area have been reconstructed to change the original the low density to medium-high density. Jacksons Landing is a location that has evidence of both urban consolidation and urban decay and renewal. The previous use of the site was used for commercial industrial, the CSR refinery. However new current use is high density housing. The buildings have reached up to 13 storeys high facilitating more than 200 apartments for both commercial and residential uses.
The consolidation of infrastructure also includes the Promontory site at Pyrmont which is the development of 74 home units with five buildings with car parking. The Jones Bay Wharf is now a leasing complex for a commercial and retail area. The influence of this urban dynamic on the morphology of the area is the varied type of housing and infrastructure now existent.
Pyrmont is now home to high rise buildings such as apartments, business districts and single dwellings such as houses, small businesses (hair Salon on Jones Bay Rd).This diversification of infrastructure is favoured by the Government and most private sectors however the majority of the community is against it. This is displayed through peaceful protesting contrasted by the local community in Pyrmont-Ultimo.
Spatial exclusion is another urban dynamic that is seen throughout Pyrmont-Ultimo. Spatial Exclusion is where luxury lifestyles are protected by spatial restrictions of other urban dwellers. For example the Sydney Wharve 8-10 in Pyrmont are part of a gated residential community.
The high rise apartments on Mount Street are also sectioned off to the public with high security technology. The converted site of the Quarry to a residential complex has now been gated with only private access to the elevator for residents. Evidence of an urban village was noticed while conducting the primary research and fieldwork. An urban village is classified as distinctive residential district facilitating a group of people with a common culture that form an identifiable community. Features of Pyrmont-Ultimo can fit into this urban dynamic.The common culture of the area is dominantly young, upwardly/mobile, professional persons, with single or double income with no kids. This was observed at the local cafe, where young business men and women were travelling to and from work, and stopping by for a quick coffee. Therefore a common culture exists and Pyrmont-Ultimo can be classified as an urban village.
The results of the urban dynamics in Pyrmont-Ultimo has transformed the area from an industrial warehousing suburb into a thriving residential, commercial and business precinct.Today Pyrmont-Ultimo is wealthy, youthful, educated, tourist attraction, home to business headquarters and communications companies. The effect of these dynamics on the morphology includes the changing demographics of the area. There has been a distinctive change in the dominant age groups throughout the past 50 years. The majority of the area is aged between 20 and 29 year olds, who account for 55. 3% of the total population.
People under the age of 9 account for 0. 9% and people over 65 account for only 1. 65%.This shows the age demographics in the area as a result of close proximity to work, educational facilities, city and other services. Another changed demographic is the development of a multicultural community. During the fieldwork many different cuisines were noted such as Indian (Scott St) and Italian (Dolton House). This is evidence of a cultural mix as a result of the effect of urban dynamics on the area.
The implications of these changes on the morphology include the change in demographics and the implications for social justice.The developments have placed impacts on existing residents and initiated protests by them. Today Pyrmont-Ultimo provides a total of 381 units situated on the peninsula which has implications for the sustainability of the area. The redevelopment program has placed added stress on the environment. Both urban consolidation and renewal have meant that the existing infrastructure must facilitate for a larger population, resulting in the need for improvement and more energy efficient services.
For example ferries, light rail, walkways, cycle ways, buses, trains are all found in Pyrmont-Ultimo to support the population.This is more environmentally sustainable as less carbon monoxide producing cars will be used. In Pyrmont-Ultimo Urban Consolidation, Urban Decay and Renewal, Spatial Exclusion, and Urban Village are all important.
However through both primary and secondary research and conducting fieldwork in Pyrmont-Ultimo, it can be seen that the most dominant is dynamic urban decay and renewal. This is because by observing, sketching, discussing and mapping throughout the primary research and fieldwork it has been found that the urban dynamic urban decay and renewal is most dominant.This dynamic had contributed mostly to the increase in population, redevelopment of obsolete industrial land, and business development in Pyrmont-Ultimo. Pyrmont-Ultimo has undergone one the most important urban renewal schemes and is now one of the fastest growing suburbs in Sydney. Throughout history it has demonstrated change in the urban area, as a result of urban decay and renewal, urban consolidation, urban village and most recently spatial exclusion. These urban dynamics were observed from conducting primary/secondary research and fieldwork in Pyrmont Ultimo and they have all help contribute to the changing morphology of the area.