Strategy, policy & implementation Digital, data & spatial Infrastructure Placemaking Planning Economic development Regional

Activating Nowra City Centre

NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Project Highlights

Assessment of planning controls and feasibility factors that impact development activity in Nowra.

Market sentiment analysis to understand current state and drivers that will influence future growth.

Developed ‘big move’ recommendations highlighting the importance of a strategic and integrated approach to encourage rejuvenation and growth for Nowra, in addition to any changes to planning controls alone .

The bottom line

Through evidence based analysis, identified recommendations to guide government and stakeholder collaboration to catalyse activity in Nowra City Centre.

The Challenge:

The Illawarra Shoalhaven Regional Plan 2041 identifies an action to “develop a strategic Roadmap for Nowra City Centre to set a vision, identify actions and guide inter-agency and inter-government collaboration”.

Astrolabe was engaged to deliver on this action by assessing planning controls and feasibility factors that impact development activity in Nowra, developing recommendations to encourage new development and increased investment in Nowra.

What we did:

We developed our recommendations through analysing the current state and future state scenarios for Nowra through:

  • Market sentiment analysis
  • planning and feasibility assessment including commercial viability for projects
  • engagement with stakeholders – stake agencies, peak bodies and local business 
  • recommendations development and testing

Our detailed research to understand local context and impact to growth included a review of population, housing and economic data, supported by a site visit by the team.

Image: the regional and local connections to Nowra.

Recommendations to inform a strategic roadmap for Nowra were grounded in outcomes of our analysis including:

  • changes to planning controls in isolation of other interventions would not significantly improve development feasibility
  • brokering government and intuitional investment and commitment is essential
  • a strategic approach to increasing services and amenity and tackling challenges of car-dependency through integrated land use and transport planning is required. 


  • Analysis and recommendations to support NSW Planning’s Strategic Roadmap for Nowra

  • A series of ‘big move’ recommendations to increase investment and development activity in Nowra City Centre – through a combination of land use, transport, and economic policy changes.

  • Highlighted need for integrated land use and transport planning in addition to possible changes to planning controls to catalyse development activity.

Cover photo credit: Visit NSW