Creating a Vibrant and Sustainable Mixed-Use Community for the Gold Coast

The Parklands project provided a purpose-built development to be used initially for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, with a long-term vision as a place for the Gold Coast community to live, work and play.


  • Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia


Project Status

  • Completed, 2017



“With sustainability and community at the core of design, working on Parklands was a true once-in-a-lifetime experience professionally. With the acknowledgement and integration of culture, heritage and community identity in the project design, it was rewarding to feel that a positive impact would be realized in the long term.

“As one of the most significant urban renewal projects to be undertaken in Queensland, a key issue and by far the greatest opportunity was developing the project on a brownfield site. The innovative design breathed new life into the site, providing seven hectares of green and landscaped areas, along with substantial ecological value improvements.“

Rikki-Lea James
Sustainability Consultant

Five kilometres from Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, the Parklands development accommodated 6,600 athletes and officials during the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Our transport, property and sustainability consultants collaborated to deliver all four stages of the Commonwealth Games Village and Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) headquarters on behalf of our client Grocon.

After the Games, transformation began to create a mixed-use residential, retail and business community that will be integrated into the adjacent Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct. The visionary masterplan, coupled with innovative approaches to project delivery, has enabled the site to be easily repurposed with minimal adaptations to be made.

Following its adaptation to legacy mode, the site has been renamed as Smith Collective. It will become one of Australia’s first build-to-rent developments, with 1,252 apartments and townhouses available to rent from early 2019.

The sheer number of stakeholders, multiple clients and tight deadlines made this a project where our core team and great relationships with our partners played an exceptionally important role.
Kevin Sheppard Principal, Building Services and Project Manager
packages of works delivered during a six-year period
52 52
properties available for rent from 2019
1,252 1,252
6-Star Green Star Communities rating achieved
6 6


From the very beginning, Grocon targeted the maximum Green Star rating for the project. We collaborated to integrate sustainability best practice principles at all levels of the development; the 6-Star Green Star Communities rating we achieved is awarded to projects that promote well-connected, diverse, inclusive and healthy places that decrease environmental impact.

To achieve this, the project adopted several sustainable features, which included:

  • Using green building design – e.g. orientation to maximise the climatic benefits
  • Designing for Australia’s Liveable Housing Guidelines
  • Incorporating the first “Changing Places” facility in Queensland
  • Planting 136,420 new trees across the site
  • Establishing a construction waste recycling target
  • Re-establishing a natural creek and floodplain
  • Adopting smart metering that aims to decrease energy and water consumption

Encouraging Community Prosperity

Alongside the 6-Star Green Star Communities rating, Parklands also obtained the maximum possible score for the criteria on innovation. The numerous innovative initiatives included:

  • Partnering with the local community to raise funds for Southport Special School
  • Including a “Changing Places” facility and accessible residential design
  • Creating a Reconciliation Action Plan
  • Supporting Indigenous Australian students through skills training
  • Providing sustainability awareness/education centres on site that inform people about its sustainability features

Emily Low, WSP’s Associate Director – Sustainability says, “Parklands achieving a 6-Star Green Star Communities rating is a testament to the strength of the project team’s vision. The team sought to develop a community that reflects the history and culture associated with the site with strong embedded sustainability through design principles and governance. This vision has created a healthy, accessible and world-leading place, which encourages social and community prosperity.”

WSP provided the following services on this project: Building Services, Sustainability, Transport Planning, Rail, Traffic Modelling, Integrated Transport Systems and GIS. Having played a key role in every stage of the development of the Village, our teams became fully part of the project journey and gained an in-depth understanding of the Games' overarching vision.

Third-Party Sustainability Ratings

The project achieved a 6-Star Green Star Communities v0.2 PILOT rating (the maximum possible), an EnviroDevelopment Mixed Use 6-Leaf certification from the UDIA, and an average NatHERS (Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme) rating of 6 or above.

Inclusivity and Community Engagement

A successful Reconciliation Action Plan and an Indigenous Participation Plan were established, as well as community partnerships with several local organizations including the Gold Coast School of Construction, Griffith University, Southport Special School and TAFE (Technical and Further Education) Queensland.

The project team was recognized with the President’s Award, the Master Planned Development Award and the Consultants’ Excellence Award at the 2018 Urban Development Institute of Australia’s (UDIA) Queensland Awards for Excellence.

Images Courtesy of Grocon Pty Ltd