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Afghan Bazaar Streetscape Enhancement Project

One of Dandenong’s much loved and highly acclaimed cultural precincts – the Afghan Bazaar – has undergone a multi million dollar streetscape enhancement. 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 trader

Project background

In July 2010, the City of Greater Dandenong was successful in securing funding from the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship under the Cultural Precincts and Community Infrastructure Fund, for streetscape enhancements in the Afghan Bazaar Cultural Precinct in Thomas Street, Dandenong.

In 2011, Council together with consultants Sinatra Murphy P/L, consulted with key stakeholders that work, visit, and are serviced by the Afghan Bazaar Cultural Precinct and invited ideas and input into the streetscape enhancement of Thomas Street. The community consultation process resulted in a Design Framework underpinned by the ideas and aspirations of the community.  These came through as four design elements which are the signature of the streetscapes transformation.

Download Community Consultation Report (PDF - 2.4MB)

In 2012, Hassell Studios was appointed as the design team to develop a concept in direct response to the Design Framework.

Download Design Concept Afghan Bazaar (PDF - 2.93MB)

In March 2014, Stage 1 of the project was completed, with a $1.1 million streetscape enhancement. Jointly funded by the City of Greater Dandenong and the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship.

 Stage 2 works were funded by the City of Greater Dandenong and completed in early 2016 providing a consistent look and feel with the special signature design elements continuing along the eastern side of the central block 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.

Award Winning

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 
  • 2015 LGPro Awards for Excellence in the Community Assets and Infrastructure Initiative
  • 2016 National Landscape Architecture Awards: Award of Excellence for Communities

Read more information on the awards