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Like whatever....
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Hi Guys.

I've just completed a two and a bit week road trip around South Eastern Australia visiting as many regional centres as possible. In fact you name it and I've been there.

Nowhere surprised me as much as Newcastle. What an amazing (textbook) city I found.

OK I found a city with some amazing architecture, beautiful buildings, and a relaxed beachside vibe. Not only that but the weather was perfect.

The people were so friendly and country like - for a city of more than half a million people. Folks said 'hi' and 'hello' as I walked down the mostly deserted Hunter Street - the main shopping area.

So what is is about this town I found so fascinating. Well the country attitude for one, the relaxed beachside vibe was more akin to Lorne or Torquay.
The second thing that hit me was - where are all the people? Lunch crowds on Hunter Street just do not happen. I could have shot a rifle down the street and not hit anyone.

For all this to co-exist with the beautiful architecture of the city and the relaxed beach side vibe of the place really got me thinking. Why the hell don't more people use the CBD?? It was simply lovely.

I felt like I was in a twilight zone episode walking around a city abandoned and with the population simply to relaxed to care.

The demise of this city will culminate in the closing of the last CBD department store soon - DJ's. This really upsets me.

So really what can be done to bring this beautiful city alive? Any thoughts?

Please share your experiences of Newcastle here.
 

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70's porn star
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The growth of suburban shopping malls has killed the CBD. It never really recovered after the earthquake either. The vibe is in fringe burbs like Darby St Cooks Hill and Beaumont st Hamilton. And the waterfront, Honeysuckle, has taken over as the preferred city centric place to be, hence the push to remove the rail line so as to connect Honeysuckle and the CBD.
 

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I visted Newcastle earlier this year and loved it (see my 3 Newcastle photo threads!), will be visiting again in mid November. The CBD as JayT says is very close to the beach, and also has the feel of a much bigger city, there are some really great 6-10 level older buildings that wouldn't be out of place in any of the majors. I was there on a Sunday and Monday and it did seem a bit quiet around the city shops, bad news if the DJ's is closing. Probably another damn suburban shopping mall sucking the life out of a grand CBD.

3 pics from May





 

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Hi JayT,

Thanks for opening up this topic. I'm glad you found your time an eye-opening experience. As a born and bred Novocastrian seeing the state of the city makes me feel upset and frustrated, especially remembering it from the pre-earthquake days. As Lance mentioned previously, the rise, growth and dominance of suburban shopping centres such as Charlestown Square and Westfield Kotara, have sucked what little life there was in the CBD. Having said that, I still feel really optimistic about the city. Honeysuckle has created a nice urban vibe next to the harbour which will only continue to get bigger and improve. Connectivity is a major issue between the water and Hunter street...the rail being a barrier IMHO. I have noticed in my last visits that the new apartment developments in Newcastle West have attracted a few cafes and shops in what is quite a derelict area. I feel that density needs to be pushed in these zones and the vibe already in place on Darby Street continued throughout the eastern parts of the CBD. There are so many opportunities for al fresco dining and cafes near the water.

Newcastle really does have potential to turn into a great little city but has some growing up to do. I really feel that it probably is one of, if not the most underated cities in Australia. You also mentioned that Newcastle has a country feel and that is part of the problem. Many residents don't share the belief that it should be a dynamic, energetic city.

I'm interested in what other people think can be done to improve the city??
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
^^
Frustrating. But they have their own version of paradise there. I must admit I fell in love with Newcastle CBD the way a person falls in love with an abandoned puppy.

This city has so much potential and could have a future as bright as Wellington NZ (as an example). I found the distance between Newcastle and Sydney greater than I thought. I thought it was similar to Brisbane/GC but it sits very apart from Sydney. The distance would be an asset to a city trying to find itself.

As said more density, more apartments and I believe a light rail linking the CBD with the suburbs - particularly those suburbs with are thriving. I did notice some thriving shopping and restaurant strips in the inner suburbs :)

Anyway this city has great potential. If someone asked me to move there tomorrow and take up a position to re-vitalise the city and put the CBD on the map as a project - I would!! It can be done. And I believe it can be done without destroying the 'country feel' and relaxed novocastrian attitude which set it apart from other cities.
 

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the hunter region is the powerhouse for the nsw economy its a pity it doesnt get its share of funding from the state government
 

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i've changed my mind
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the obvious solution is to make the station and a section of it underground... doesn't have to be the whole length, but i suppose if you're going to the effort you might aswell. I agree with the old lady on the stateline vid... they'll regret it later if they rip it up/
 

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stupid sexy flanders
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Spent a couple of years living in the Hunter. Got my 1st kiss at Abermain primary, Tracy Sewell if youre still out there, im single now!

Recently back in Newy. Like the city a lot, it was so apparent that the cbd was suffering. Beautiful setting, as long as you dont look over the river.

The malls outside of the cbd arent going to help, no idea what impact the quake had tbh, I think the city suffers from being too close to Sydney. Much like Hamilton gets overwhelmed by Auckland and subsequently forgotten despite being a city in its own right.

I've never been down to the 'Gong. Surely they suffer in the same way down in Illawarra???
 

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Walking Leather Boots
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I've never been down to the 'Gong. Surely they suffer in the same way down in Illawarra???
The Gong does have a few suburban malls, three inparticular Shellharbour, Figtree and Warrawong. Howevernon of these really impact the CBD as the centre in the CBD is the largest and has the biggies, David Jones and Myer. Whereas in Newy Charlestown and Kotara are both now in a vicous fight for the premier shopping destination in the Hunter reagion, both growing fast in competition and Kotara is now lodging again for an expansion too match or better Charlestown, its madness. The CBD needs to do something drastic to at least draw some customers back otherwise it will get left behinde even more.

Also you gotta have a diverse city centre, they should look at other attractions apart from shopping.
 

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I like hearing about people's opinions on towns and cities. Newy is one of my favourite towns, it has a character that others have already mentioned, a mix of heritage and industry in a coastal location.

When you include outlying areas like Swansea, Cessnock, Maitland, Raymond Terrace and Morisset, Newcastle is characterised by sprawl. The trend of urban sprawl is likely to continue, particularly closer to the mines in the Hunter Valley (areas near Maitland, the proposed Huntlee New Town etc). Other outlying areas such as Cooranbong west of Lake Macquarie are also earmarked for development. As such, Newy CBD suffers somewhat from it's location, it is not central to other parts of the city. Over time, I'm of the opinion one of two things will occur: 1. One or more suburban hubs will emerge (say Charlestown, Kotara, Glendale) and Newy CBD will function as another suburban hub; or 2. Newy CBD will move westwards towards the Wickham/Hamilton/Broadmeadow area.

@ Milan Luka: Wollongong, while it shares the industrial and coastal characteristics of Newcastle, isn't in the same predicament for three reasons that come to mind:

1. Newcastle CBD has heritage constraints that limits growth to a degree - Wollongong is a little more immune to this.

2. While it is acknowledged both CBDs sprawl, Wollongong sprawls along a north-south linear axis and is punctuated at both ends by hilly terrain. As such, future development is somewhat limited to the existing footprint (with the exception of areas west of Shellharbour that is currently rural land). With this linear pattern, while the transport connections could be improved, at least the corridors are easy to work with. Newcastle's urban footprint isn't as well defined and spreads south and west of the CBD (and north too when considering places like Stockton and Raymond Terrace). As such, connections between centres in the Hunter are more difficult to establish.

3. Melbnovo and Lowey bring up the point that some Novocastrians still regard themselves as part of a country town. I believe this is less of a consideration in Wollongong.
 

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novocastrians are against progress
Its not only a Newcastle thing in that regard, Geelong suffers the same issue. They should be much more open to development, to bring the city to life, but many are content to see things stay the way they are, and possible close all together. Strange but true.
 

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Lonely Planet rank it as the 9th best city in the world to visit, apparently. http://travel.msn.co.nz/airlines/news/8116297/wellington-coolest-little-capital-in-the-world

* New York, USA

* Tangier, Morocco

* Tel Aviv, Israel

* Wellington, New Zealand

* Valencia, Spain

* Iquitos, Peru

* Ghent, Belgium

* Delhi, India

* Newcastle, Australia

* Chiang Mai, Thailand
They are some of the strangest choices I have seen. Theres way too many of these ranking things out there.

Newcastle is great, but not anywhere near that level.
 

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70's porn star
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Look, I love Newcastle but you'd be spew'n if you went there just because Lonely Planet says it's the 9th best city in the world.
 

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Its not only a Newcastle thing in that regard, Geelong suffers the same issue. They should be much more open to development, to bring the city to life, but many are content to see things stay the way they are, and possible close all together. Strange but true.
Probably Wollongong suffers more as being unprogressive and too close to a capital city etc than Newcastle.
This would have to be one of the most uninspiring places I have ever visitied.
Having just been on the Grand Pacific Drive for the first time,
http://www.grandpacificdrive.com.au/ it was somewhat of an anti-climax to arrive at such a city centre after driving along such magnificent coastline.
Virtually nothing has changed in the over 15 years since I have been there.
 
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