Planning for the future

Dixon Street transformation revealed

Our proposed designs will bring vibrancy back to the heart of Chinatown with creative lighting, improved flow and traditional cultural features.

Dixon Street reimaged - night time artist impression

The transformation of Dixon Street is one step closer with our latest concept designs unveiled for community feedback.

The proposed upgrade works along Dixon Street south represent a significant milestone in the broader strategy for the Haymarket area. These innovative plans are the result of ongoing community consultation since 2022, and they build upon the collective vision for a revitalised precinct formed earlier this year.

You can help guide what this transformation looks like and have your say on our concept designs.

Dixon Street today and proposed future concept design
Dixon Street today and proposed future concept design

Concept design's key components of vitality, elements and space

The concept design has been created by landscape architects ASPECT Studios in collaboration with experts in cultural and creative design, to breathe new life into the much-loved street. The vision for the area is to bring energy, flow and vibrancy back to the precinct to encourage and attract visitors.

We listened carefully and closely to the community as we worked together with the designers to develop our vision for the heart of Chinatown,

Our concept deliberately reflects and incorporates traditional elements from the area in bringing a synergy to these proposals,” the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore AO said.

The 5-coloured clouds are stylised Chinese auspicious clouds which represent good fortune in Chinese culture
The 5-coloured clouds are stylised Chinese auspicious clouds which represent good fortune in Chinese culture

Vitality: inviting new energy through creative lighting

A highlight of the plans includes an innovative lighting design. An illuminated canopy threads its way between the iconic gates that frame Dixon Street south. This canopy is an ever-changing tapestry of colours and patterns inspired by the traditional concept of auspicious clouds which represent good fortune in Chinese culture and are associated with the Taoist concept of Qi. This dynamic lighting will adapt to celebrate seasons and festivals, adding depth to the cultural richness of the precinct.

Elements: embedding traditional symbols into the public domain

Public domain elements like seating and pavements will be upgraded, creating a more inviting atmosphere. Traditional symbols like graphic representations of the 5 blessings will be inlaid into furniture with laser cuttings or stencilling. The 5 blessings are inspired by the Chinese naming of Hay Street, the key gateway to Dixon Street, which in Chinese is 禧街, meaning celebration and happiness.

Space: opening up the tree canopy

The proposed design includes opening the street up to the sky to introduce more light and improve flow.

Preserving heritage: Chinatown Ceremonial Gates

The design concept also underscores the importance of the Chinatown Ceremonial Gates, which are set for restoration and heritage listing as part of the City of Sydney's broader revitalisation strategy.

The gates feature traditional pagoda-style roofs with exposed timber rafters, glazed ceramic tiles, symbolic ceramic figurines and engraved gold leaf signs in Chinese script that are guarded by lion sculptures.

At the top of the gates, inspirational proverbs about friendship and goodwill are inscribed in Chinese characters, along with English translations.

Chinatown Ceremonial Gates
Chinatown Ceremonial Gates

The gates provide a ceremonial entrance to the only surviving original Chinatown in the city centre. By restoring and heritage listing the gates, we will ensure they can be enjoyed for generations to come,

Expanding the vision: concept ideas for Dixon Street north

While the current focus is on Dixon Street's southern end, the proposal includes concept ideas for Dixon Street north, which is owned and managed by the NSW Government.

Have your say

Our plans to revitalise Haymarket will continue with community input. If you live, work, run a business or spend time in Haymarket, be part of the change and share your ideas. View our design concept plans and tell us what you think by completing our short online survey.

As well as an English-language version, the survey has been translated into Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Indonesian and Thai.

The consultation closes at 5pm on Wednesday 15 November.

Published 19 October 2023, updated 27 December 2023