A recently released report has laid out a new vision for the revitalisation of Kings Cross.
It aims to support local businesses and a thriving nightlife, while providing more public spaces.
As a famous nightlife destination, Kings Cross has undergone significant changes since the introduction of the lockout laws in 2014. The controversial laws by the NSW Government were scrapped this March. Now, urban think-tank Committee for Sydney has released A New Vision for Kings Cross, a report which looks at ways that the precinct can balance a thriving nightlife with liveability and noise control for local residents.
The proposed changes at a glance:
- Encouraging businesses to use neon signage as a key identifying marker, with innovative lighting projects to add spark and improve safety.
- Creating more daytime activity by converting underused retail floorspace to coworking and incentivising office space in future developments.
- A single agency to manage all noise and complaints across the area, with planning incentives to encourage new theatre and live venues.
- Late night trains to connect the Cross to the wider 24-hour Metro network, as well as making the streets safer and easier to navigate on foot.
- Creating a new economic strategy to diversify Kings Cross’s day and night-time economy.
A bright history and future
The report suggests businesses should be encouraged to install neon signage as a unique marker of Kings Cross, and lighting projects should be funded to improve safety after dark and add a creative layer to the streetscape.
“In the ‘50s, the Cross was famous for its neon signs which lit the main streets and lanes – the famous Coke sign is all that’s left now,” said Gabriel Metcalf, CEO of the Committee for Sydney.
“We think the Cross can literally feature neon as a defining element of its aesthetic. Just imagine a thread of neon lights in shopfronts and side-streets through the Cross, even a neon version of Arthur Stace’s iconic Eternity signature.”
Co-funded by the City of Sydney, and undertaken with the University of Technology Sydney, the Sydney Business Chamber and local stakeholders – the report also recommends making the intersection where Darlinghurst Road crosses William Street one lane in each direction and lowering speeds along Darlinghurst Road and surrounding laneways to 10km/h.
In addition, it suggests increasing the greenery of the area by creating pocket parks, converting unused retail space into co-working areas, and increasing the “permeability” of the area by encouraging new developments to build throughways to side streets.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has said she welcomes the proposed changes, noting that many of the suggestions – including pedestrian-friendly improvements, increased tree canopies, and a more diverse night-time economy – are already underway by the City of Sydney.
“Kings Cross has a colourful history, a strong identity and a recent troubled past. It has been a bohemian heartland, an underworld stronghold and a lively late-night destination, and in the wake of lockouts and Covid-19, it will be time to start a new chapter,” said Moore.
“We’re confident the next chapter in that history will be safe and lively, with a thriving residential community and a diverse economy that includes fabulous nightclubs and bars, restaurants, theatres, shops and cultural institutions open late – a Kings Cross we can be proud of and our global city deserves.”