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Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre

Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre

Leading environmental education to empower learners for a sustainable future.

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Urban Dynamics - Pyrmont

Urban Dynamics – Pyrmont supports Stage 6 Geography and focuses on the urban dynamics of renewal and consolidation in the suburb of Pyrmont Sydney. Pyrmont has undergone rapid change as a result of urban consolidation and renewal in recent decades. Students will investigate the urban dynamics and assess the sustainability and liveability of Pyrmont, using ‘best practice’ planning principles, in order to answer a fieldwork question. They will also undertake a ferry journey from Pyrmont to Circular Quay to identify landuses and urban dynamics around Sydney Harbour.

Program location

Pyrmont NSW (and ferry to Circular Quay)

Download the fieldtrip map (PDF KB) or view the interactive google map with approximate walking route, meeting location and pick up location. 

Key inquiry question

Explain why and how the government has implemented its urban consolidation policy in Pyrmont. Evaluate how successful this has been in improving the quality of the urban environment?

Key syllabus outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • explain the changing nature, spatial patterns and interactions of urban places
  • analyse contemporary urban dynamics and applies them in specific contexts
  • evaluate environmental management strategies in terms of ecological sustainability
  • plan geographical enquiries to analyse and synthesise information form a varity of sources
  • apply maps, graphs and statistics, photographs and fieldwork to analyse and integrate data in geographical contexts.

Integrating the ‘Sustainability’ Cross Curriculum Priority is a feature of the program.

Skills outcomes

Learning activities may include:

  • Data collection in Pyrmont, on Centre iPads, including evidence of urban dynamics and their economic, social and environmental outcomes. Data files will be sent back to school for students to create a virtual map of their fieldwork. 
  • mapping 
  • assessing liveability and sustainability using a rating index
  • developing Geographic Inquiry Skills including: Acquiring (what is where), Processing (why is it there), and Communicating (why care)
  • answering a fieldwork question
  • creating a virtual map (google MyMap) of their fieldwork

Student Previsit and Follow up Activities

Successful fieldwork visits have direct links to current classroom learning. Pre-visit activities carried out prior to the excursion will help students better understand their excursion content and provide connectedness and relevance to classroom learning.

The following tasks, together with fieldwork, will help students answer the fieldwork question:

Students should view the previsit presentation, virtual tour and accompanying activities on the Fieldwork Support Website prior to undertaking the fieldwork.

The Pyrmont Case Study website was also produced by OHEEC for the DoE as a virtual fieldwork case study, and contains detailed information about Urban Dynamics in Pyrmont.  

On the day activities

During the full day fieldwork excursion, students will:

  • recap on prior learning with OHEEC teachers 
  • undertake a guided tour of Pyrmont to collect data (on Centre iPads) on urban dynamics of change, and their economic, social and environmental outcomes.
  • acquire, process and communicate geographic information to answer a fieldwork question.
  • learn basic geographic tools including mapping, photo interpretation, field sketching observing and recording
  • use a liveability rating index to record evidence of liveability and sustainability due to the outcomes of urban renewal and consolidation in the study area
  • create a follow-up virtual map of their fieldwork. 


  • DoE - From $9 per student (GST free). For more detailed DoE costing see the attached fee structure (PDF 91KB).
  • Non Government School $20 per student (GST free) 

Excursion program downloads

Download these documents to help with your excursion planning: