Living infrastructure, Campbell 5 Precinct

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The innovations at the mixed use zone called Campbell 5 Precinct, in Canberra’s inner-north, have seen improvements in the quality of stormwater and public open spaces.

As part of the ACT Government’s Climate Adaptation Strategy, trials of new innovations are increasing the ability of our community to adapt to climate change impacts and are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Water sensitive urban design in action at Campbell 5


Campbell 5 is a major mixed use development on Constitution Avenue, to the east of Anzac Parade. The ACT Government ensured that a significant amount of the site would be retained as public open space, including the new Hassett Park. The design of the open spaces meets the needs of new residents, existing locals and the wider community.


Hassett Park successfully interweaves recreational facilities with innovative water-sensitive urban design. It attracted a commendation in the Stormwater Award for Excellence 2016 and won the 202020 Vision Green Design Award in 2017 for excellence in sustainable design.

Hassett Park has been described as setting a new benchmark in public domain design. The living infrastructure in the park includes a grassed swale and wetland depression that allow stormwater to be captured, filtered by the wetland plants and soil and re-used. The filtered stormwater is stored in a large underground tank (hidden under the park’s bridge) and is either used for irrigating the park or released into Lake Burley Griffin.

Slowing down the movement of water through the area has a cooling effect during hot weather, reduces flood risk, and provides park users with the pleasures of accessible water and wetland wildlife.

At the same time as achieving environmental aims, the high-quality open space encourages the community to gather, interact and engage in active living, with children’s play spaces, exercise equipment and a network of paths for pedestrians and cyclists.

Climate Change Benefits

  • The living infrastructure components of trees, waterway and irrigated grass cool the surrounding environment, reducing urban heat in the locality.
  • Flash flooding is reduced by the detention basin and swale, and because there are fewer impervious surfaces than usual.
  • Reducing vehicular transport by increasing active travel (cycling and walking) reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Trees absorb and store (sequester) atmospheric carbon.


  • Physical health benefits for residents and community from play equipment, sports equipment and walking and cycling networks encouraging physical activity.
  • Quality parkland also increases mental health and wellbeing.
  • Less water is needed for park irrigation.
  • Stormwater is filtered to improve lake water quality.
  • Public open spaces provide opportunities for residents to get involved in the community.

The underground storage tank being installedThe bridge in Hassett Park providing connectivity.