Parramatta Stories

Mapping Liveability in Parramatta

The Institute for Cultural Studies (Dr Sarah Barns) has been collaborating with SGS Economics and Planning to create an interactive prototype tool revealing accessibility walk scores across the City of Parramatta.

Click here to explore the tool. 

The project was developed to explore the use of open data channels to support improved monitoring of city performance and to explore how liveability varies within a metropolitan area.

Screenshot 2016-06-06 13.13.50

The focus for the research collaboration was an exploratory exercise to investigate the presentation of data from the public domain in a highly visual and accessible manner to engage the public and inform planning outcomes.

The mapping tool presents data to visualise accessibility to key social infrastructure across Parramatta LGA, using travel time as a proxy. The tool allows the user to choose the infrastructure (transport, retail, health, education) and map accessibility according to their own priorities.

The research used Parramatta as a case study because of the high levels of residential and business growth planned in the area, the need to identify potential gaps in infrastructure and to engage with the community in shaping neighbourhoods. There are opportunities to expand on this approach in the future and to develop similar tools to help inform priorities for investment and resident priorities.

The research project has explored how open data and mapping platforms might be used to evaluate relative levels of accessibility in urban areas and create ‘composite’ profiles of specific precincts. This work has demonstrated that there is available technology and platforms to support data analysis in real time and visualising outputs at a fine grain level.

The creation of the tool identified several opportunities and challenges, including:

 The need for improved data availability, quality and feedback

 Existing gaps in information on infrastructure types and services available

 The potential to inform investment priorities and community priorities with improved evidence; and

 Greater use of spatial indicators to promote community access to city building data.

For more information please contact Dr. Sarah Barns (WSU) or Alison Holloway (SGS).

Note: This research project was concluded prior to local government reforms which resulted in the creation of the City of Parramatta Council through the merger of part of the former Parramatta City, part of the former The Hills Shire, part of the former Auburn City, part of the former Holroyd City and part of the former Hornsby Shire councils. City of Parramatta in this report is based on the boundaries of the City of Parramatta prior to 12 May 2016.


Parramatta's Story

Parramatta is one of the earliest sites of European arrival in Australia, and continues to be a place in which many new arrivals to Australia make their home. We see the history of Parramatta continuing to shape its future, as the city transitions from a site of connection between past and present, river and land, and people’s from many nations.

This is Parramatta is a platform exploring the experience of Parramatta as a city in transition. We look at the city’s past, and how the experience of arrival continues to shape its future.

Did you know? 

Parramatta itself was founded by the British in 1788, the same year that Sydney was founded.

For the Darug people who lived in the area before European settlement, the area was a place in which to congregate, a meeting point rich in food from the river and forests. They called it ‘Baramada’ or ‘Barramatta’ (‘Parramatta’), which means ‘head of waters’. For the Europeans, Parramatta was chosen as the most suitable site from which to grow the first European crops to feed hungry convicts, after a failed attempt to set up a farm on Sydney Harbour at what is now called ‘Farm Cove’.

These first forays into farming in Australia would prove successful. James Ruse’s ‘Experiment Farm’ was the first site at which grain was grown in Australia, followed by Elizabeth’s Farm, established by John Macarthur in 1970s, site for the pioneering of the Australian wool industry.

Fast Forward: Parramatta as a Smart City

Today, Parramatta is going through big changes. The city is growing fast, and its being re-imagined as a Smart City.  What does it mean to make Parramatta ‘smart’?  We’ll be exploring this question in coming interviews and stories.


Parramatta: A History of Plans

Explore our Short History of Plans for Parramatta.

  • Dec072015

    Parramatta 1788

    Parramatta is founded.  Parramatta is the the oldest European inland settlement in Australia, along the section of the river where...

    Read more