Dee Why Town Centre Master Plan | Sydney Australia | PLACE Design Group


Regenerating a city’s urban heartbeat can be fraught with fear, challenges and public uncertainty, however after two years in the planning, PLACE Design Group has given the Dee Why community good reason to celebrate with its Master Plan set to transform the centre by the sea into a revitalised and vibrant destination.


In conjunction with associated sub-consultants PLACE was engaged in 2011 by Warringah Council to prepare a Master Plan for the Dee Why Town Centre which has taken out multiple Australian awards in 2013.
Having to overcome a decade of local community fatigue and frustration with lack of progress in the evolution of the local Town Centre and associated public realm, PLACE  took on an extremely challenging and complex project.  The brief was wide ranging incorporating aspects of Urban Design, Statutory Planning and Landscape Architecture.  The multi-disciplinary nature of the project however would allow for deep exploration of planning, landscape and urban design theory and how positive synergies could be drawn between the disciplines through a holistic and prioritised approach.  Four unique elements to the project were early identified as:

  • Identification and presentation of all the changes, constraints, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as part of the Master Plan Review
  • Preparation of a Revised Master Plan for Dee Why Town Centre
  • Preparation of Draft Planning Instruments to rezone and reclassify land and to deliver the outcomes identified in the Revised Master Plan
  • Community Engagement for the Revised Master Plan, Feasibility Study and Concept Plans


PLACE embarked upon the preparation of three Master Plan options which would be tested via a comprehensive community engagement strategy that was facilitated by sub-consultant Elton Consulting.  At the same time Warringah Council elected to form a local Working Party comprising key stakeholders and prominent members of the local community to work with Council and PLACE to further develop options aimed at addressing both council owned and privately held lands and identifying public domain improvement opportunities.


The project team was tasked with building on previously commissioned studies, including the Government Architects’ Master Plan (2004); LEP amendment 21 (2008); and the Dee Why Town Centre Traffic Study (2010). Through the process of close community consultation and working party meetings, a clear vision for the area was defined and an implementation pathway proposed which ultimately obtained the full support of the local community, local government representatives, and key stakeholders.


Director of Place Design Group and Project Manager for the Dee Why Town Centre Master Plan, Darrell McLean said, “The core focus of this project was to provide an innovative, cohesive and sustainable vision for Dee Why which embraced the area’s desirable seaside location and strategic position on Sydney’s northern beaches.”


The project team for Dee Why Town Centre worked extensively with Warringah Council and the community to identify opportunities for creative approaches to enhancing socio-cultural, environmental and economic outcomes for future generations.

Demographic trends were consciously studied to determine the needs of the community.  Medium Density Development living and affordable housing were seen as the two priorities. The various master plan scenarios explored a variety of built form typologies attempting to maximise on flexibility of floor space to allow a variety of low and high end commercial and residential occupancy.

The final Master Plan included a raft of initiatives for both Council and public land, including built form and land amalgamation options, extensive streetscape improvements, and a strong locally responsive water sensitive urban design (WSUD) narrative.  A centralised community ‘hub’ was also created redefining the existing civic precinct.

Through the adoption of the Master Plan, Dee Why Town Centre is expected to set a new precedent for the successful integration of civic, commercial, and residential activities. To view the Plan details visit


Dee Why Town Centre Master Plan | Sydney Australia | PLACE Design Group

Image & Text Credit | PLACE Design Group


About Damian Holmes 3148 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at