Dandenong’s Afghan Bazaar

Design Feature
Type of Project
Placemaking
State
Victoria
Location
Urban

Dandenong’s highly acclaimed Afghan Bazaar Cultural Precinct is recognised as one of Melbourne’s prominent cultural precincts, highlighting the cultural, social and economic contribution of Afghan communities in Australia. After extensive consultation with a broad range of precinct stakeholders, a clear vision with aspirations and ideas for the precinct emerged into a Design Framework. This framework has been used to inform a multimillion dollar staged streetscape enhancement project which has attracted government funding and wide acclaim.

Facilitating community integration 

In July 2010, the City of Greater Dandenong was successful in securing funding from the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship under the Cultural Precincts and Community Infrastructure Fund, for streetscape enhancements in the Afghan Bazaar Cultural Precinct in Thomas Street, Dandenong. In 2011, Council engaged Sinatra Murphy P/L, to consult with key stakeholders that work, visit, and are serviced by the Afghan Bazaar Cultural Precinct and openly invited ideas and input into the precinct as part of a pre-design dialogue and project scoping exercise. This community conversation phase resulted in a Design Framework with four major design elements directly informed by the ideas and aspirations of the community.

Blue feature lighting accentuates the precincts character after dark.
Blue feature lighting accentuates the precincts character after dark.

In 2012, Hassell Studios was appointed as the design team to develop a concept in direct response to the Design Framework. Hassell’s creative response to the design elements has become a signature of the streetscapes transformation.

Thomas Street Dandenong.
Thomas Street Dandenong.

In March 2014, joint funding totalling $1.1 million from the City of Greater Dandenong and the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship saw Stage 1 of the project completed and launched by the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. 

Stage 2 works were funded by the City of Greater Dandenong and completed in early 2016 continuing the signature design elements along the eastern side of Thomas Street. The streetscape improvements generate a sense of place via the incorporation of new paving with contemporary cultural patterns, bespoke street furniture, landscaping, street and decorative lighting and an integrated artistic centrepiece by artist Aslam Akram called ‘Lamp’. The project has propelled positive relationships between community and Council; elevated the precincts visitor appeal; and contributed to attracting attention from high profile food editors and events.

Project team

  • City of Greater Dandenong
  • State Government through the Office Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship
  • Sinatra Murphy P/L
  • Hassell Studios
  • Aslam Akram – Artist
  • Big Fish Workshop P/L

Project cost

$1.1 Million

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