Canberra City Stage 1

A new university precinct in the heart of the National Capital.

Rendered image of UNSW Canberra City Stage 1

Indicative site plan

​The Stage 1 development is located at the corner of Constitution Avenue and Coranderrk Street in Parkes. The site is currently an unsealed, at-grade public car park. Access to and from the site by vehicle and on-foot will be via Constitution Avenue. 

About Stage 1

UNSW Canberra is taking the next step in the realisation of the Canberra City Master Plan with commencement of the Stage 1 development.

Prior to work starting, this first stage will commence with an approval from the National Capital Authority (NCA) and the ACT Government. Following this approval, detailed design will commence with construction expected to begin in 2024. Stage 1 of UNSW Canberra City is expected to open in 2026.

The Stage 1 development includes the construction of two multi-use contemporary buildings that will host teaching and research spaces; retail offerings; cultural and student-focused spaces; and facilities for new and existing industry partners.

Stage 1 draft concept design

UNSW has engaged Hassell as the architects for Stage 1, who are an international award-winning architecture firm. They have designed a number of notable buildings, including the University of Melbourne's School of Design, The Australian National University Research School of Physics and Birch building, and work spaces for Lendlease, NAB and Baker McKenzie.

To find out more about our plans for Stage 1, the draft concept design report can be found below.

Indicative landscape for Parkes Green

Indicative facade from Constitution Ave

Indicative time frames

  • November-December 2023: Community and stakeholder consultation on Stage 1 concept designs.
  • Early 2024: Approvals by NCA and ACT Government
  • From Q1 2024: Detailed design undertaken
  • Q1/Q2 2024: Works approval granted
  • From 2024: Construction starts
  • From 2026: Stage 1 opens

Stage 1 consultation

UNSW Canberra ran an early consultation program from 24 November to 17 December, 2023. This included a number of methods to give feedback on the concept design, including a Community Information Hub, pop-ups and an online feedback form. 

UNSW Canberra wishes to thank the many individuals and organisations that contributed feedback to this important process. The consultation report will be developed and respond to this feedback. If you would like to stay informed and up-to-date about this project, please sign up to the UNSW Canberra newsletter here.

We always welcome enquiries from the community, via phone or email.


Email your feedback and/or enquiries to We will endeavour to respond to you by the next business day.


Phone us on (02) 5114 5241. If we don’t catch your call, we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as we can. 

Frequently asked questions

Canberra City Master Plan

  • The UNSW Canberra City Master Plan provides a robust foundation to guide the development of the campus and realise UNSW’s campus vision. The Master Plan is designed to support a contemporary education pedagogy, along with research and innovation, collaboration and knowledge exchange. Located at the centre of Canberra’s defence and innovation corridor, the UNSW Canberra City campus will enhance Canberra’s innovation corridor links with science, technology, defence, industry and government. 

    The Master Plan encompasses the University’s vision for the campus and responds to the detailed design and planning guidelines set out by the ACT Government and National Capital Authority (NCA), in particular how the campus development is integrated into the city and surrounding environment.  

    The Master Plan guides the campus development positioning building envelopes, open green spaces and the road, cycle and footpath network. The UNSW Canberra City Master Plan will be built over four stages. 

  • The Master Plan was approved by the ACT Government in April 2023. This approval comes after several years of work and engagement between UNSW and the ACT Government, including two stages of community consultation and endorsement by the National Capital Authority. 

  • Engagement and communication will be ongoing throughout this project to keep local residents, businesses and the community informed of the progress of the development. The University will work to mitigate any impacts during construction, and will advise on works or impacts as early as practical.

    The community are encouraged to sign up to our newsletter for up-to-date information on the development. 

  • Student accommodation is expected to be developed from Stage 3 in accordance with the Master Plan. UNSW is currently working with an off-precinct commercial providers to ensure there will be accommodation available to meet student demand in the early stages, and the University will bring forward onsite student accommodation if student demand makes that viable.  

    UNSW will continuously monitor both student accommodation demand and supply in the Canberra market to ensure that this does not slow our growth potential or contribute to undersupply in the current market.  

  • The 10Ha site includes both the future UNSW Canberra City campus and ACT Government retained land. There is a requirement for publicly available car parks across the site throughout the development. These spaces will support large events nearby (i.e. Commonwealth Park, Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra City etc.), and will ensure overflow parking does not disrupt residential areas in Reid and the surrounding suburbs. 

  • The railway easement forms a special place in Canberra. The easement is currently managed by CIT, however UNSW will maintain and rejuvenate the heritage railway easement in accordance with the ACT Heritage Act when the campus expands to this area of the site. This will be undertaken in consultation to the local community. The heritage railway easement area contains a mix of mature trees and shrubs providing an effective screen between the campus and Amaroo Street; therefore, the mixed green landscape will remain in place providing a quiet reflective space for the enjoyment of all. 

The community

  • The benefits from the UNSW Canberra City campus are wide-ranging, from economic during building and construction through to job creation and social benefits such as city renewal and rejuvenation. 

    This project brings global expertise and opportunity for local employment and business. 

    A second Group of Eight university in Canberra’s CBD will strengthen Canberra’s reputation as the knowledge and education capital of Australia and will bring new student markets to the ACT. 

    Launch, UNSW Canberra’s defence and security innovation precinct, will be a leader in the realms of Innovation Districts. Designed to be energetic and social, the precinct will attract world-class innovators and industry leaders, accelerating social and economic benefits. 

  • Over time, our cohort of students will grow, and across a 15 year period, it is expected that there will be up to approximately 6,000 students on campus, when it is fully realised.

    In 2024, UNSW Canberra City will launch its first undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Cyber Security. This boutique program is limited to domestic students. We are also introducing some postgraduate and research programs. More information on educational offerings can be found here.

  • The University of New South Wales (UNSW) has proudly provided education services to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in Canberra for more than 55 years. The UNSW Canberra City campus will deliver new academic programs for domestic and international students and be home to Launch, UNSW Canberra’s defence and security research and innovation precinct. The new campus will also provide much needed space for the expansion of UNSW Canberra postgraduate and professional education programs and research.  UNSW Canberra will continue delivering education and research at ADFA.

  • In November 2018, the ACT Government announced that it would deliver a new, state of the art CIT campus in Woden Town Centre. This facility will be fit-for-purpose and designed to accommodate changing needs of vocational education and training.   

    Information about CIT’s move to Woden can be found here.  

  • Safety on campus is of utmost importance for the University. The UNSW Canberra City is no different from other University campuses with a range of safety and security measures and protocols in place. Some will be obvious and active such as Security monitoring and patrols and others more passive such as an activated ground plane and walkways,, landscaping and lighting.  

  • Modern University campuses are typically in use 24/7 with access controlled outside standard business hours.  


  • UNSW Canberra City will allow for expansion of our current postgraduate and professional offerings as well as the opportunity to explore tailored educational programs which attract new domestic and international markets to Canberra. The Canberra School of Professional Studies has been established on the site and is working with industry to develop programs that meet the needs of Canberra’s industry.

    In 2024, a Bachelor of Cyber Security will launch in existing buildings on the future Canberra City site. More information on educational offerings can be found here.

  • UNSW is committed to commencing the new campus development in a timely manner. UNSW is currently providing short course and online education offerings in existing buildings at CIT Reid. These will continue to grow as the new campus is developed.  

    In 2024, a Bachelor of Cyber Security will be launched from these existing buildings. More information can be found here.

Planning and development

  • UNSW Canberra will continue to engage with consultants throughout the planning process and will evaluate all plans alongside the heritage and environmental impact.  Our urban design focuses on revitalising the site with more trees and a landscape design that is beautiful, sustainable and enhances the local character of the precinct.

    The University will ensure that protecting the amenity and value of the heritage railway easement is a priority when the campus expands to that area of the site. UNSW is committed to environmental sustainability and the UNSW Canberra City campus will meet or exceed the Universities’ targets set to achieve its environmental sustainability goals  

  • A Construction Transport Management Plan will be prepared in accordance with Roads ACT guidelines and specifications.  All efforts will be made to minimise impact to stakeholders, Reid/Parkes residents and the wider community for the duration of construction. The community will be notified in advance of any changes in traffic conditions. 

  • The Precinct Deed with ACT Government outlines a clear timeframe of delivery which the campus development must adhere to, with all development activities completed within 15 years from the date of the Deed. Campus development will occur in four sequential stages under holding leases. These will be granted for each stage upon completion of the previous stage. The first development proposal is expected to be submitted in early 2024. 

  • The first two buildings at UNSW Canberra City will be built on the corner of Coranderrk Street and Constitution Avenue in Parkes (Stage 1). UNSW Canberra has procured Hassell as  the architects for the first two buildings . Positional plans for the two buildings can be found in the approved Master Plan here.

    Hassell are an international award-winning architecture firm. They have designed a number of notable buildings, including the University of Melbourne's School of Design, The Australian National University Research School of Physics and Birch building, and work spaces for Lendlease, NAB and Baker McKenzie.

  • The ACT Government will retain two hectares of land at the east end of the site for future development.  You can learn more about the ACT Government planning here

  • Currently on site in Reid are Skykraft, Infinity Avionics, FuturifAI, UNSW Canberra’s Advanced Manufacturing Lab and the UNSW Defence Research Institute. Industry and government partners are expected take up residence in the first two of UNSW Canberra City’s new buildings. 

  • UNSW has a commitment to maintain publicly available carparks, both during construction and the lifetime of the development, and is working with the ACT Government to ensure minimal impact to parking across the site. When early works commence in 2024, parts of the carpark will be closed to ensure the safety of users. Further and more detailed information relating to development, parking and traffic management will be available via the community newsletter, which you can subscribe to here.

Stage 1 consultation

  • All feedback provided will be carefully considered prior to the submission to Government. This submission will include our responses to each of the feedback items we receive. 

  • The plans submitted by UNSW Canberra will be done in accordance with the ACT Government’s and the National Capital Authority’s planning requirements, as well as the approved Master Plan. These plans have considered feedback received in earlier consultations.

    UNSW is interested in hearing any feedback you may have on the concept design of Stage 1. Key elements of the design you may like to consider include:

    ·        What you value in these types of developments in this area of Canberra

    ·        Suggestions for ways we can further improve sustainability of the Stage 1 development

    ·        Further ideas of landscaping enhancements

    We will consider any general feedback you may have prior to the submission.

  • The University welcomes feedback from the community at any time via email, at

    The plans will be placed on public notification by the National Capital Authority (NCA) where members of the public can make submissions about the development directly to the NCA.

    UNSW Canberra will also ensure community and stakeholders are informed and where possible, consulted to mitigate the Stage 1 development construction impacts. 

  • The Master Plan has considered ways to mitigate impacts on Constitution Ave, including the placement and access of driveways and internal access roads for campus parking. These will be expanded further, through parking and traffic impact assessments that will be undertaken prior to construction. These assessments will inform detailed design of Stage 1, so we can address any potential impacts early.