An architect has drawn up plans for an edible city he calls Willy Wonka’s Woolloomooloo
A CITY so good you could eat it
A CITY so good you could eat it — that’s part of one architect’s $8 billion vision to transform Woolloomooloo from a “slum” into a modern day Shangri-La.
David Vago’s “edible city” concept includes market gardens on most rooftops — 24,000 square metres of them.
It also provides for 20,000 square metres of edible vertical green walls, 6000 fruit trees, four rooftop greenhouses of 150 square metres each and an organic supermarket selling fresh produce grown on site.
Luxury apartment towers would have green facades and balconies and other rooftops would become communal open spaces using native plantings to attract bird habitat.
The healthy lifestyle makeover plans for four kilometres of internal bike and walking tracks, and a 20th floor floating rooftop as part of 90,000 square metres of open public space.
Mr Vago’s “Willy Wonka’s Woolloomooloo” of the future, which he estimates could be built in stages over 10 years, would be a mix of business and pleasure.
It would incorporate 200 hotel rooms, 15,000 square metres of creative small business office hubs and a similar sized retail area for a supermarket, restaurants and a pop up shop district.
In a bold social experiment he envisages half of the 5000 new apartments would be reserved for Australia’s first integrated, affordable and means-tested housing precinct.
Those given cheaper housing would come from essential lower paid jobs such as nurses, teachers, police, social and not-for-profit workers.
Some housing would be for disadvantaged families and individuals in exchange for looking after the edible landscapes and market gardens.
There are plans for health care facilities with a focus on mental health, the aged and terminally ill.
A new primary school is included, along with preschools, after school care centres and TAFE training workshops, organised sports centres and community music, art and dance studios.
The existing above ground train viaduct would be converted into a New York style green link from Kings Cross to the Art Gallery and Domain via the new Woolloomooloo precinct.
Mr Vago, of Habit8 in Surry Hills, described Woolloomooloo as “probably the most unused area within 500 metres of a global CBD anywhere in the world”.
He acknowledged his unsolicited idea could earn him “nothing” and that it would require federal government money, state government land and Sydney City Council co-operation.
“It’s a tough ask but it can happen,” he said.
“I believe urban designers are the visionaries of the city. This is not a developer grab. Money is not the driving factor. I have spent a lot of time in the area, and asked myself: ‘How can we create a better suburb?’
Mr Vago presented his ideas for an “edible city” last November to industry leaders at the World Urban Design Conference in Canberra.
He has spoken about it with federal Treasurer Scott Morrison and believes at least two major developers are interested in backing the project.