Think HBR

Newcastle in 2025

Edward Crawford
Director | Residential and Land
Colliers International
The city of Newcastle has experienced growing pains for a number of years. As a community, we have been preoccupied by the discussions, consultations, and arguments related to urban renewal and revitalisation. Whilst those change processes are important, focusing only on the immediate challenges can distract us from looking to the future, and from planning for new opportunities and realities.
What will Newcastle look like in 2025 – only 9 years from now?
Will our daily experience be any different?
Transport and transport infrastructure will be transformed in the next decade. We will have light rail in the CBD, the Wickham interchange and – we hope – a coordinated, multi-mode approach to public transport. New residential and commercial developments are already clustering around the interchange; in 9 years, Wickham will be a destination, the epicentre of a thriving, vibrant city west business and residential district. If the light rail is extended further afield by 2025 – say, toward a park & ride facility at the redeveloped Hunter Stadium regional sporting hub – we will also see additional residential density around locations like Broadmeadow and Hamilton. Certainty attracts investment.
The implementation of an integrated multi-mode public transport network will deliver real benefits to parts of the city outside the CBD. Coordinated, modern bus services and well planned cycleways designed for the average commuter cyclist will be essential, as fuel costs rise and private vehicle ownership and use falls. Autonomous vehicles will probably appear on our roads by 2025 - an additional mode in the public transport mix.
Within 10 years we should see international flights arriving at Newcastle Airport. We will also see the Joint Strike Fighters operating from RAAF Base Williamtown. The massive investment, employment, and economic activity around the airport will require fast and frequent transport connections. A modern rapid bus service will be an absolute must.
We can expect to see many ‘unfinished’ parts of the inner city redeveloped. Honeysuckle will be largely complete, the Hunter Mall sites mostly developed, and many smaller buildings along Hunter or King Street will have been redeveloped in response to a thriving mid-town University and legal precinct.
What might be on a ‘Newcastle in 2025’ wish list?
• World class public space on a transformed harbour front, incorporating an adaptive reuse of the former Newcastle Railway Station building;
• Active recreation spaces in the CBD – people magnets that help make Newcastle a compelling destination for locals and visitors;
• A modern, frequent, rapid bus service between the airport and surrounding centres;
• Newcastle’s art gallery redevelopment complete, operational, and forming a treasured addition to the cultural infrastructure of the city;
• A smart redevelopment of the former Post Office, sympathetically incorporating priceless heritage with functional modernity.
Importantly – by 2025, we will be enjoying the benefits of so many things that we have fought over, and we have realised that we achieve so much more by working together. We will have come to understand that consensus is powerful, and is the key to achieving all that we deserve.