New Town retail precinct upgrade


The City of Hobart is upgrading the New Town retail precinct to create a more vibrant, inviting and accessible place for everyone.

Stage one of the project was completed in early 2020, and after a delay caused by the impacts of COVID-19, work on stage two can start thanks to an Australian Government Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program grant, which will fund the majority of the upgrade works.

Stage two of the project will include the creation of a New Town community hub that will create a space for pop-up events, markets and other community activities.

It will also include a raft of improvements to the area, including two new pedestrian crossings, a bus shelter and upgraded infrastructure with a focus on pedestrian safety, access and amenity

The concept design has been developed by the City of Hobart in collaboration with the New Town community.

Download project info sheet(PDF, 8MB)

Download FAQ sheet(PDF, 473KB)

Stage one improvements

Stage one of the New Town retail precinct upgrade was completed in early 2020 and included:

  • Renewal of all kerbs and gutters between Sunnyside Road and the Salvation Army Complex on New Town Road.
  • Pedestrian crossings at Pedder Street and Pirie Street intersections were significantly improved with step-free crossings.
  • Footpaths in the retail node were upgraded with new pavers.
  • Garden beds, a tree and sculptural seat were installed at the intersection of New Town Road and Pirie Street.
  • Benches and bike racks were installed along New Town Road.

The new design for the area was guided by the eclectic nature of the precinct. Various elements – such as the texture and colour of pavers, the shape and material chosen for the precinct's furniture and the plants selected to adorn the streets – all are carefully considered and blend together to create a distinctive look to express the unique character of New Town.

The pavers used to upgrade the footpaths fit together in an asymmetric pattern, creating a quilt-like effect. Varying paver texture and reflectivity creates a pattern that changes depending on time of day and weather conditions, while retaining appropriate slip resistance.

The style of the new street furniture resembles the design of the furniture in the neighbouring Lenah Valley precinct. Intended to be familiar, but different, it is influenced by the geometry of the new paving. Local Tasmanian celery top pine – the City's frequent choice for furniture due to its durability and attractiveness – softens the street.

The planting design of the garden beds refers to the historic streetscape and cottage gardens of New Town Road. Colourful kangaroo paws and burgundy coloured dwarf flax contrast with grey succulents, irises, lavender and geraniums. The drought tolerance and low maintenance qualities of the plants will ensure an attractive look in all seasons.

The finishing touch is a tulip tree planted at the Pirie Street intersection. It will grow into an excellent shade tree, boasting a beautiful golden-yellow foliage in autumn.

Stage two improvements

Work on stage two of the new Town Precinct upgrade will include:

  • A New Town community hub at the junction of Cross and Valentine streets with a flexible space that will improve pedestrian safety and can also be used for temporary events, markets and other community activities. 
  • A high quality public bus shelter and landscaping adjacent to the new ‘community hub’ on New Town Road, delivering improved accessibility, weather protection and safety for bus passengers. 
  • Upgraded infrastructure to help people move throughout New Town, with a focus on pedestrian safety, access and amenity.
  • Road surface renewal of parts of New Town Road.
  • Additional plantings. 
  • Upgraded mobility and public transport infrastructure. 
  • Infrastructure to future proof digital connectivity.
  • Three new public artworks by artist Matt Drysdale that reflect the area’s identity. 
  • Two new pedestrian crossings on New Town Road, one at the Dispatch Café, and the other between the Greenstore Café and the Salvation Army complex.
  • A landscaped community 'pocket park' offering green space and seating on New Town Road in front of the Salvation Army complex.

Key priorities of the project

  • Define and reinvigorate New Town's heart at the junction of Cross and Valentine streets with a flexible space for events, markets and other community activities.
  • Provide new raised, level pedestrian crossings at the side street intersections of Roope, Pirie and Pedder streets, where they meet New Town Road.
  • Install a bus shelter.
  • Provide public art and a green space 'pocket park'.
  • Create new pedestrian crossing facilities on New Town Road (near the Salvos, near Cross Street and near Roope Street).
  • Create new dining and sitting areas.
  • Add greening and amenity with new trees, plants and street furniture.
  • Upgrade footpaths.

Public art

City of Hobart has commissioned an artist to create an engaging and enduring public artwork that reflects the identity of the area, appeals to community members of all ages and remains contemporary and relevant for the long term.

Matt Drysdale, a Tasmanian-born artist from the Office for Collective Design (the OCD), has been chosen through a nationwide selection process for his concept Hybrids. The concept offers a series of sculptural landmarks that offer other functions, including seating, planting and places for posting community notices. Matt developed the Hybrids as a result of analysing of the streetscape and gaining an understanding of the community desire for a bold work that defined the New Town retail strip.

The sculptures are completed and one has been installed (near the Pirie Street intersection). Two other sculptural elements will be delivered to complete the installation – one in the Salvos pocket park and one near Cross Street.

For more information, visit the New Town Public Art project page.

Project background

"Main streets are the focal points of our towns, villages and cities. They are the places where we meet friends, share lunch, spend time and shop. A town without a quality main street is missing out on the most fundamental of public spaces, and its residents forgo the social atmosphere of a thrumming communal space. There is a broad appeal to quality main streets, so it makes sense to invest in good ones." – MRCagney, 2015

In spring 2015, the City of Hobart and a team of consultants undertook a program of community engagement to identify and prioritise streetscape upgrades for retail precincts across Hobart's local areas. An innovative 'tactical urbanism' approach was employed. Pop-up style events were held in local areas, and communities were able to trial a range of temporary traffic interventions and streetscape improvements. Participants designed, organised, tested and proved their bold concepts, and the communities had a lot of fun in the process.

In New Town, the traders group planned an event to test the closure of two street sections in order to create a new village square. 'Twilight on the Green' was a great success with people from the neighbourhood enjoying food, fire and music into the evening.

Twilight on the Green certainly brought the community together for an enjoyable party, however the event was intended to trial a more permanent solution for a traffic-free intersection.  Discussions with traders, locals and the New Town Community Association revealed that there were many different views and some people had real concerns about the impacts of restricting traffic from New Town Road.

To ensure that a project could go ahead with broad community support, the City of Hobart relaunched the community engagement, inviting participation from all stakeholders in a co-design process to determine the scope, priorities and design direction for the upgrade.

For more information, see the project information sheet(PDF, 3MB).


New Town Road, New Town 7008  View Map

Google Map