Newcastle’s Urban Renewal to attract 40,000 by 2041

Published: 7th August 2018

Beginning work on Newcastle’s East End it was exciting to be embarking on a journey into unparalleled urbanisation not seen in Australia since the gold rush.

Our team collectively remember Australian summer holidays visiting Newcastle, a sleepy town steeped in industrial working class history, untouched by gentrification, with long stretches of empty beaches and a lonely shipwreck called Sygna.

Back then the most radical thing that happened in Newcastle centred around the bogey watering hole or a visit to the steel museum.

You wouldn’t come back from school holidays bragging about your summer spent at Newcastle. You were more likely to say you travelled through it, on your way to Byron Bay, with a stop at the scenic historic mining town of Catherine’s Hill or Tin City or the pier at Stockton Beach.

Nowadays you’re more likely to brag that you own a place in Newcastle, thanks in no small part to the NSW Government’s Urban Renewal Project, which picked up momentum in 2016 (the very same year the Sygna shipwreck disappeared forever into the deep blue waters of Stockton Beach).

“25% of residential capacity is located within 1% of Newcastle’s land area”

Perhaps the sinking of Sygna was a sign that Newcastle had shaken off its ‘down and out’ mining and port town reputation and was heading towards gentrification and urbanisation, which is attracting culturally aware professionals, who want a relaxed beach lifestyle, no commute to work, locally produced food, and access to some of the best beaches in the world.

“Newcastle is expected to grow by 40,000 by 2041 driven by good economics and transport”  

When we work on projects we truly immerse ourselves into the surrounds so, along with the opportunity to work with a vibrant growing community – what excited us about East End was the chance to be part of the future vision of Newcastle. We really bought in to the vision of building Australia’s “smartest city”.

What we believe the local community and NSW Government has done really well in building this vision is set the planning on pillars of innovation, technology, sustainability, transport and economic betterment. This has attracted a new breed of Newcastle local – the artist and the creative.

Driven by incentives like free studio spaces in Newcastle CBD and lower than Sydney rentals and house prices, the city saw an influx of entrepreneurs, innovators, creators, artists, startups, idea generators and change makers changing the social fabric and cultural setting of Newcastle and its surrounds.

And it’s only going to get bigger with NSW Government investing more than $650 million to deliver public spaces, light rail and a new public transport interchange, key to attracting an estimated 40,000 more people by 2041.

“Where else in the world can you live a block from the harbour, and three blocks from the beach?”
Sam Arnaout (CEO IRIS Capital) 

If you have a chance, take a trip to Newcastle’s CBD, you’ll immediately see a vibrant community, modern architecture, and a quirkiness that’s inspirational and rivals New York City.

Indeed our own creatives fell in love with the Novocastrian community of artists, writers, and painters, like Archibald portrait painter winner John Earle, or John Bell, director of the Bell Shakespeare theatre company. Our design team spent many hours walking the city admiring both the new and the old and re-imagining the future of the city.

We were so inspired through our interactions with influencers, locals and, of course, the artists, writers and photographers, that they became the perfect collaborators with us on East End.

Locals, Joe Frost our writer, Owen Burns our director and photographer Hannah Rose Robinson, helped us truly capture the natural beauty, Novocastrian spirit and the exciting revitalised future in store for an iconic coastal city.

By the end of this project, we’d won a UDIA Commendation for excellence in marketing, we’d captured the hearts and minds of locals, and felt a deep sense of pride to have played a part in building the vibrant new future the city of Newcastle so deserves.