Work to reinvigorate Chinatown as a unique and world class cultural precinct begins this week as Year of Chinese Culture in Australia continues.
The works include the transformation of the small pagoda in Dixon Street near Goulburn Street as a tourist information kiosk and major improvements to three laneways, Kimber Lane, Factory Street and Little Hay Street, to make them pedestrian friendly and attractive.
Refurbished with renewable and reusable materials, the kiosk will feature patterned sliding curved glass screens, a Chinese-inspired artwork and energy efficient lighting. The screens will be decorated with a vivid red lantern motif designed by Brisbane artist Pamela Mei-Leng See and the artwork, entitled 'Pao Cha' (to steep tea), is based on a contemporary form of traditional Chinese paper cutting techniques. It will be illuminated at night by lights inside the kiosk.
According to research by Tourism NSW, Chinatown is the third most visited tourist area in Central Sydney after the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The new kiosk is close to transport links, the Chinese Gardens and other Darling Harbour attractions, the Sydney Entertainment Centre and the Capitol theatre.
The laneway works, identified as early start projects in the City's Chinatown Public Domain Plan, will celebrate Chinatown's distinctive character. New street trees will be planted in Little Hay and Factory Streets and Kimber Lane and Factory Street will become a shared space for cars and pedestrians, with lower speed limits. Decorative lighting, new paving and street furniture also feature in the improvements.
These works coincide with celebrations for the Year of Chinese Culture in Australia. The largest series of Chinese cultural events ever held in Australia, The Year of Chinese Culture in Australia includes performing arts projects, visual arts exhibitions, film festivals and music showcasing China's traditional and contemporary culture. I recently joined in launching the Year of Chinese Culture in Sydney when The Legend of Shangri La was presented at the State Theatre.