Goyder Square


Goyder Square Palmerston, Northern Territory, Larrakia Nation Palmerston Council had the bold ambition to transform Palmerston from a city for cars to a city for people. Its civic heart – Goyder Square is transformed through a thoughtful combination of adaptive re-use, infrastructure repurposing, landscape design, place activation and cultural events planning.

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Image: @ln___studio
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  • Palmerston, a sibling of Darwin, is a tropical city eager to find its own identity. Seven years ago, the city centre was dominated by cars, indoor shopping centres and very little community interaction. There was no real town centre and walkability around it was non-existent. People chose to travel between shops in their cars, instead of walking the 100 metres between Bunnings and the supermarket. Overarching this was a dysfunctional and disconnected town.

  • The master plan was designed through the lens of the public - to transform the main street and Goyder Square. Given the uniqueness of Palmerston and limited budget, we had to be creative and innovative in our design concepts - taking a piece of lawn and creating an incredible story of connection and community. Instead of suburban sprawl, we planned to capture the uniqueness of the Palmerston community with the goal of improving overall happiness. We wanted to connect the values of the Northern Territory climate with civic life.

  • With its well-designed mix of creative spaces, public facilities and lush greenery, the square creates a new civic heart for Palmerston and a place where people can meet, enjoy community and be entertained. The site’s cost-effective transformation is a model for many other towns that have at their centre a dead zone of car parking and asphalt. This project affirms that, with community input and courage from local government and business, good urban design has the ability to transform lost, soulless spaces into attractive, green places that prioritize people and revitalize the local economy.

  • Designed for place and purpose By embracing a great streets strategy and a collaborative urban design approach, we transformed the city centre into a thriving, walkable and connected hub. Regardless of budget, taking a place-led, inclusive approach that co-created with a community, we created a shared public realm designed to improve community happiness. Inspired by the tropical climate, Goyder Square has improved the safety, comfort, and delight of its users throughout the day and night. Key features include: •Tropical landscaping that fits with the local identity; •Integrating the Square with the adjoining Boulevard Complete Streets project; •Reclaiming spaces previously used for cars to enlarge the Square; •A multi-purpose stage for events; •Installing wi-fi, an outdoor library, children’s playground and digital screen; •A splash pool for water play and micro-climate control; and •Art installations and a lighting concept for the iconic water tower.