Laneway revitalisation

Laneway revitalisation

Transforming little laneways is big business

An ambitious City of Sydney scheme to support business and create a better walking experience is revitalising the city’s hidden laneways and transforming them into award-winning shopping and dining destinations.

The City’s vision to rejuvenate underused areas in the heart of the city centre has brought together government departments, young entrepreneurs and large establishments, and has been featured in the Qantas in-flight magazine, The Australian Way.

The laneways revitalisation program began in 2008, when the City announced plans to invest $10 million in infrastructure upgrades that would support local business. Over the past 6 years, there has been major infrastructure in 9 laneways, while 4 more will be completed by early 2015.

Among the band of supporters of the laneways project is Sydney bar and restaurant entrepreneur, Justin Hemmes and CEO of the Australian Retailers Association, Margy Osmond, as well as many small business owners.   

The laneway regeneration program uses public art displays to recast the once dark, dirty and under used thoroughfares into welcoming public spaces. The artworks have become drawcards in their own right.

Three of the works – ‘In Between Two Worlds’ at Kimber Lane in China Town, ‘Circles in the Round’ in Temperance Lane and the award-winning ‘Forgotten Songs’ at Angel Place – have proved so popular, they have become permanent installations.

Today, an average of 4,316 visitors pass through Angel Place every day, double the number from 2007. Along with the spectacular birdcage artwork, the City introduced morning-only vehicle access, plus extensive new paving and lighting. 

Also under the program, major infrastructure works were undertaken in Ash Street, Angel Place, Bulletin Place and Albion Lane with new paving, lighting and art installations. In York Lane, new footpath edging supported outdoor dining. A section of Market Row was closed to traffic, improving pedestrian amenities and supporting outdoor dining. And new drainage improved the look and feel of Temperance Lane. 

“The City’s laneways revitalisation is an important and integral part of the city, encouraging new small businesses to be established and introducing more people to the city. It has taken the undesirable and made it highly desirable, and that is a terrific success,” the Lord Mayor said.

Success of the City’s laneway revitalisation program has been recognised nationally and internationally. In July, the City’s Finegrain program won a commendation in the ‘Place Leaders Asia Pacific Awards’ for the creation of outstanding public places. Last year, the City’s collaboration with ASPECT Studios to transform local laneways won the 2013 Australia Award for Urban Design hosted by the Planning Institute of Australia.


Alice Chatwood
A/Manager, Business Precincts
02 9265 9831

Main image: 'In Between Two Worlds' at Kimber Lane.

Last updated: Friday, 11 December 2015