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Park News

Shift in focus as Sydney Olympic Park creates spaces for locals

17 Dec 2020

Community mural of pop-up park 



Colourful yarnbombing, mural paintings, a new dog park and interactive street art are all part of a new focus on the everyday as Sydney Olympic Park creates inviting spaces for locals.

Extensive community consultation in June with residents, businesses, local councils and industry led to a co-designed program of placemaking projects aimed at bringing colour, joy and comfort to current and future locals who chose to live, study and work in the Park.

Painting of new street library at Abattoir Blues

Sam Romaniuk Executive Director of Sydney Olympic Park Authority said Sydney Olympic Park is well known for putting on incredible events and hosting millions of visitors, however, the Park is evolving into an everyday location.

“Sydney Olympic Park will always be a place for big events and offering the best in entertainment, sport and exhibitions,” said Mr Romaniuk.

“The role of the Park is changing though, as more and more people call it home now and in the future, and so the time is right to focus our attention on ensuring the Park delivers more intimate and fun spaces for the local community.”

“By creating places people love, we also hope to see this project support local economy revival.”

The first wave of local initiatives at Sydney Olympic Park will see a new dog park, yarn bombing, street libraries, local stories photo exhibition, community involved mural painting, and interactive street art. Works begin in December and will roll out over the following months with the dog park expected mid-2021.  

Susan Skuodas Director of Place Management of Sydney Olympic Park Authority said co-designing the placemaking initiatives with the community was critical. 

People painting a community mural


“Before we put pen to paper on this project we listened,” said Ms Skuodas. “All of the activities being delivered are in response to what we heard and that was locals want colour, interest, and intimacy.”

“We know Sydney Olympic Park can be overwhelming in its size as it needs to deliver for big crowds, there is still a lot we can do to create warm spaces and laneways of colour and fun.”

“This project is not set and forget; we are looking to test out ideas, see what attracts people to dwell and enjoy public space and be flexible so locations remain fun and interesting.”

Photo exhibition at Jacaranda Square

Andrew Elias of local café Abattoir Blues took part in the workshops and now has a street library at his venue.

“The main thing I wanted to see delivered was attracting the local community into the town centre, creating niche areas that call for a different experience,” shared Mr Elias. “I love the idea of laneway market stalls.”

“It’s good to see things being delivered in the short term, and that things are moving.”

“I think the dog park will be really well received. Every weekend we have at least 10 dogs coming in and endless calls if we are dog friendly.”


 Sydney Olympic Park has a daily community of 24,000 people with this set to increase to over 60,000 by 2030. 


Community Engagement 
Sydney Olympic Park Authority commenced a 10-week human-centred discovery and research project in June 2020, referred to as ‘Homify’ as the project focussed on encouraging people to feel at home when in spaces at Sydney Olympic Park.


The community and stakeholders were deeply engaged through innovative online discovery workshops, empathy interviews, site observation visits and surveys to establish their needs, aspirations and inspirations. The process identified a ‘grand challenge’ and ‘calls to action’ for four locations at Sydney Olympic Park. 

The outcome of the engagement included the development of transformational experience graphics developed for each location as a guide to develop new and ongoing experiences for locals.

The four locations are Jacaranda Square at the eastern end of the station; Pop-Up Park on the corner of Herb Elliott Avenue and Australia Avenue; Pullman Link walkway and Stockroute Park and Laneway off Herb Elliott Avenue. 

The project was developed in partnership with Street Furniture Australia and CM+ Architecture. 


Community engagement led to the creation of seven key priorities for the project:

1. Welcoming places that attract and surprise passersby to dwell & stay
2. Small regular events, markets, pop-up activations, live music
3. Places to meet and work outside, smaller and intimate spaces
4. Places for exercisers, cyclists and dog-walkers to refresh
5. Vibrant streets and laneways with colour and discovery experiences
6. Interesting food and cultural experiences including during night
7. Safe place for kids and families, and for adult play and recreation


Just five months after consultation, a range of initiatives will be rolled out from December 2020 to create intimate, colourful, warm, welcoming and inviting spaces for locals to dwell in and enjoy. 

1. Dog park
A new dog park will be created within Sydney Olympic Park to provide an off-leash area for pooches to run free. 

2. Yarn bombing
Yarn Bombing is the art of wrapping solid objects in blankets of crafty love. Yarn bombing emerged internationally in the 2000s to smother the world with love, colour, creativity, hope and peace.
Yarn bombing has added colour to trees in Jacaranda Square. 

3. Photo exhibition
An outdoor temporary photo-exhibition will showcase local stories at Jacaranda Square

4. Murals
A number of painted murals will inject colour and playfulness into spaces at Jacaranda Square and Pop Up park. The murals have been created by local artist Zoe from Muralisto with opportunities provided for the community to join in and pick up a paintbrush.

5. Street libraries
Two street libraries will provide an opportunity for locals to find a new read and pass on books. The libraries will be located at Abattoir Blues and at Deja Brew café.

6. Street art
Pop-up artworks will encourage locals to spread their wings, with street art style wings added to Jacaranda Square bringing colour and surprise to passersby, and offering a fun photo opportunity. 

These initiatives are delivered by Sydney Olympic Park Authority in partnership with Community Migrant Resource Centre and Muralisto. The project seeks to foster community pride and ownership, spark social connections and support a thriving local economy. This is the commencement of the delivery of Homify creating fun and joyous everyday experiences around the town centre #mysop