Sustainable focus for new parklands on Australia's Gold Coast

Broadwater Parklands at Southport on Queensland’s Gold Coast attempting to set new standards for sustainable landscapes by implementing world-leading energy efficiency and water sensitive urban design initiatives. Commissioned by Gold Coast City Council, the parklands’ $32 million stage one was designed and delivered by AECOM as part of the revitalisation of central Southport, incorporating increased protection of the area’s natural attributes and better connections between the CBD and foreshore.

Associate director of AECOM’s Design + Planning team Josh Hinwood said the design embodies a commitment to ecosystem preservation that will propel the Gold Coast into the next evolution of environmentally sustainable design (ESD). Mr Hinwood said: “255 photovoltaic solar cells positioned along a series of linear shade structures generate energy for the site, significantly reducing the parklands’ reliance on fossil fuel generated electricity from the grid”.

As part of the parklands’ water sensitive urban design, run-off from a significant portion of the Southport CBD is treated in a number of vegetated storm-water treatment systems including a central urban wetland and bioretention systems before its discharge into the Broadwater. A newly installed irrigation infrastructure allows easy crossover to future use and provision of recycled water. The ‘Rockpools’ children’s waterplay area currently under construction will utilise saltwater drawn from the adjacent Broadwater to minimize the use of potable water.

The design also pays homage to the Broadwater’s natural beauty and the local Gold Coast lifestyle, with an interactive water playground, public stage, outdoor screen and pedestrian and bicycle paths to make the most of the warm seasonal climate. “Colourful beach-style furniture, constructed using 100% recycled plastic batterns, is located throughout the parklands to reflect the Gold Coast’s identity as a much-loved holiday destination, whilst the main lawn features a striped beach towel paving design and has been designed to accommodate a host of world-class events,” said Mr Hinwood.

AECOM provided master planning, landscape architecture, water sensitive urban design and project management for stage one of the Southport Broadwater Parklands. AECOM was also responsible for providing the project’s civil, structural engineering, mechanical and electrical services.
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