The Liverpool Leader

He led the recovery of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, now he’s at the wheel for Liverpool’s transformation.

Professor Ed Blakely — director of recovery following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 — is the lead consultant on Liverpool Council’s city rejuvenation project.

“I’m done with recovery work, it’s just too hard … but I love this,” he said.

His influence is all over radical plans to spend at least $15 million reintroducing night-time traffic to Macquarie Mall, redesigning Bigge Park and more.

The American-born Australian citizen and Sydney University professor says Liverpool has outgrown the mall it created 20 years ago. 

“It was originally created to allow foot-traffic for merchants,” he said. “The mall is an entertainment space as much as it is a shopping space. The life of any structure is generally about 20 years … even I looked good 20 years ago.”

Prof Blakely’s visions of evening entertainment and dining are what’s driving the mall redesign.

“Outdoor entertainment spaces can bring this mall to life at night,” he said.

He said improvements to paving, facades and amenities like a new water feature, to be installed after the existing iconic pop-art fountain is ripped out, will change the mall’s reputation.

“You’ll notice as certain activities take off, others will disappear,” he said.

He said the proliferation of inner-city apartment blocks made an active night space critical for Liverpool.

“People aren’t going to go into the backyard when they get home, there isn’t one, this will be the place to be,” he said.

This article was originally published in the Liverpool Leader