Afghan Bazaar Streetscape

Afghan Bazaar Streetscape Enhancement Project

The City of Greater Dandenong recognises the Afghan Bazaar as one of Melbourne’s most prominent cultural precincts that highlights the intense concentration of Afghan traders.  In recent years the precinct has undergone a multimillion dollar streetscape enhancement.

Project background

In July 2010, the City of Greater Dandenong secured funding from the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship for streetscape enhancements in the Afghan Bazaar Cultural Precinct in Thomas Street, Dandenong.

Community consultation was undertaken with key stakeholders that work, visit, and are serviced by the Afghan Bazaar Cultural Precinct.

This process resulted in a Design Framework underpinned by the ideas and aspirations of the community. 

These ideas and aspirations are represented  as four key design elements which are the signature of the streetscapes transformation. Read below for more information.

Stage One

Was completed in 2014 with a $1.1 million Streetscape enhancement Grant

Stage Two 

Was completed in 2016 and incorperated signature design elements along the eastern side of Thomas street.

Specific design elements

Centrepiece - The Lamp

A focal-point provides an opportunity for cultural expression that resonates with the whole community. A centrepiece will establish a physical heart to the precinct as following stages are designed and delivered. A centrepiece can be explored in a variety of ways to establish a focal point and back drop to daily street activity and programmed events.

More information on The Lamp centrepiece.

The colour blue

Vivid blue provides an exciting and highly visual addition to Thomas Street. Vivid blue will reinforce the relationship between streetscape treatments and the focal point, drawing attention away from building scale. Blue resonates with the Afghan community, and supports a cultural signature for the broader community.

Artistic expression

The tiling artistry of Mazar-e-Sharif is a pallet of inspiration for the streetscape enhancements. It is an endorsed expression of Afghan culture and provides an opportunity for a contemporary interpretation related to Greater Dandenong. It also provides an opportunity for including local Afghan artists. 


A vibrant and meaningful design approach can be a community-building opportunity. A vibrant streetscape can establish a backdrop for supporting public celebrations and cultural festivities such as Nowruz. This can contribute to stronger cultural unity, and stronger participation from the broader community.


For More Information

Community Consultation Report - 3.8MB

Design Concept Afghan Bazaar - 3.9MB

  • Lamp Afghan Bazaar Cultural Precinct Centrepiece
    Lamp Afghan Bazaar Cultural Precinct Centrepiece
  • Afghan Bazaar Streetscape artist impression of Lamp artwork
    Afghan Bazaar Streetscape artist impression of Lamp artwork
  • Afghan Bazaar Streetscape artist impression
    Afghan Bazaar Streetscape artist impression
  • Afghan Bazaar Streetscape lighting treatment
    Afghan Bazaar Streetscape lighting treatment
  • Afghan Bazaar Streetscape benches with lighting
    Afghan Bazaar Streetscape benches with lighting
  • Afghan Bazaar Streetscape
    Afghan Bazaar Streetscape
  • Afghan Bazaar Streetscape
    Afghan Bazaar Streetscape
  • Afghan Bazaar Streetscape
    Afghan Bazaar Streetscape


Afghan Bazaar Streetscape Enhancement Project

Afghan Bazaar Cultural Precinct Awards

The Afghan Bazaar Cultural precinct has won three prestigious industry awards since 2014.

2014 Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture (AILA) Victorian Awards - Design Award

The Design Award recognised key partners include; HASSELL, Sinatra Murphy, WSP Vision, Aurecon, Australian/Afghan artist Aslam Akram and Big Fish P/L.

Jury Comment:

”The design of the Afghan Bazaar Cultural Precinct came as a result of thoughtful engagement with cultural context, history and tradition. It exhibits careful design detailing with a variety of robust materials and finishes and contains strategies for using cultural motifs in a multifaceted way. The result is highly distinctive, with sculpture and the crafting of integrated streetscape elements forming a strong basis for the design. Functionally, the design responds to a variety of user groups and their associated daily activities but it also caters for ephemeral and cyclic cultural events. In many senses this project is collaborative, participatory and responsive – across communities and cultures; between landscape architectural practices; and in association with artists and sculptors. The designers have strived for a meaningful response to social conditions whilst also striving to enhance the visual and tactile experience of an important part of the street environment of the City of Greater Dandenong.”

Read more information on the 2014 Victorian Landscape Architecture Awards

2015 LGPro Awards for Excellence in the Community Assets and Infrastructure Initiative

Awarded for projects $1.5m and under

The annual LGPro Awards promotes and celebrates the outstanding achievements delivered by both individuals and teams who work in the Victorian Local Government sector.  The streetscape project was a highly collaborative effort between a number of council departments with momentum maintained by a core project steering group.  At the heart of the project was a bench mark community engagement process with traders, community leaders and precinct stakeholders.  The project has been set a new standard within the Council as well as across Victoria for its commitment to community lead design outcomes and the creation of authentic cultural treatments.

Read more information on the LGPro Awards for Excellence

2016 National Landscape Architecture Awards: Award of Excellence for Communities

Afghan Bazaar Cultural Precinct by Hassell/Sinatra Murphy
Communities: Award of Excellence
Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA)

Jury Comment:

“The Afghan Bazaar Cultural Precinct celebrates the concentration of Afghan businesses along Thomas Street in Melbourne’s Dandenong. The jury highly commends this project for its multivalent approach to community engagement and its exploration and recognition of the diverse Afghan communities in Dandenong, as well as deep collaborations between artists, landscape architects, community members, traders and local government. The project moves beyond the often literal clichés of ethnic branding and explores multicultural notions of place and space in our public streetscape environments.

The stakeholder consultation revealed discontent with previous attempts at placemaking and contentious symbolic gestures. The landscape architects focused on providing a variety of means to bring people together through acknowledging specific cultural differences and spatial use patterns. The design for the Afghan Bazaar Cultural Precinct provides richly layered spaces for social interaction within diverse, specific cultural norms while accommodating shared festivals such as Nowruz (Persian New Year), reinterpretations of culture and daily life in the precinct.”

For more information visit the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects website