Organisers of the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 set a new blueprint for the Olympic Village with their plan to build a venue which was environmentally and fiscally responsible.The Village was developed on brownfield land by the private sector and refurbished after the Games as the first of three stages in the redevelopment of the suburb of Newington. Located on approximately 90 hectares of land beside Homebush Bay, the Village housed about 15,000 athletes and officials, and included various environmental features, such as a solar-powered hot water system.
Incorporating such features meant dwellings saved water and fossil fuel-based energy at levels that contributed to the New South Wales Government’s urban consolidation policy. For the first time in Games history, the streets of the Olympic Village were named after legendary Olympians and Paralympians such as Carl Lewis, Jesse Owens and Kieren Perkins, a tribute which survives to this day as a reminder of Newington’s Olympic history.
More houses were built after the Games, and subsequently the Olympic Village was sold on the open market as private residences. According to the 2011 census, it consisted of 2,000 homes, housing more than 5,000 people.
The same census revealed that just 3 per cent of households in the area were without a car, while 55 per cent owned two or more cars. Despite car ownership in the area not aligning with the Olympic organisers’ push for an environmentally friendly vision for the community, other aspects of the locality did.
Environmental guidelines committed the developers to energy and water conservation, use of renewable energy, minimising waste and improved standards of air, water and soil quality. Solar power and other measures reduced the demands on non-renewable sources of energy by half compared to standard project housing.
Wastewater is now treated and redirected to the neighbouring wetland, which was restored as part of the project.
Three- and two-bedroom homes dominate the mix of housing in the area, where 94 per cent of homes were occupied by 2011. When it was built, the development was the largest solar-powered suburb in the world.