Chief Minister Andrew Barr has announced the boundaries of a precinct being carved out from Northbourne Avenue and extending into suburbs each side to come under the authority of a new City Renewal Authority.
The precinct makes detours into the Australian National University campus and into areas of Dickson, as well as taking in the entire Haig Park.
Mr Barr stressed when he tabled legislation to set up two new agencies on Thursday that Haig Park would not have residential development, units or houses, in the park. He made no comment about the rationale behind the boundaries of the rest of the precinct.
The special precinct starts at the Federal Highway beside Exhibition Park, including a strip of land alongside the highway as far as Flemington Road.
The precinct excludes Watson and Downer, other than fronting the Federal Highway, but begins is intrusion into the suburbs at Antill and Mouat Streets, covering the Dickson town centre. It includes a prominent intrusion at what appears to be a loop bounded by Stockdale and Dooring Streets, and extends as far as Majura and Limestone Avenue at Wakefield Avenue.
It narrows to cover a couple of blocks either side of Northbourne, before widening again south of Haig Park.
It extends into the Childers Street area towards the Australian National University and takes in part of the campus including the Shine Dome and, the Stocklund House resource centre and the large carpark behind it and the ANU science dome, as well as the academy of science.
It covers New Acton, and the West Basin area earmarked for residential and commercial development, stretching along Constitution Avenue to cover the Canberra Institute of Technology and land fronting Parkes Way.
Mr Barr's spokesman said the Stockdale Street area was already zoned RZ4, and he said the ANU boundary followed the line of territory land, but the agency would work closely with the ANU "as a major contributor to the life and economic development of the city area".
Asked whether there would be a separate set of planning rules or zones in the precinct, he said, "There are no new planning rules", and the planning directorate would still be responsible for overseeing development applications.
Mr Barr announced plans to split the Land Development Agency in two after a damning audit report into its land deals at Glebe Park and West Basin last year.
On Thursday, he tabled legislation for the new Suburban Land Agency and City Renewal Authority. The legislation gives the minister wide powers to declare any piece of land an "urban renewal precinct". The minister need only make the announcement, notify the ACT parliament and publish a map and, "in general terms" the urban renewal priorities for a new precinct.
The first precinct is the Northbourne corridor for which a map has been released.
Ultimate power rests with the minister, who is given the authority to direct the new boards.
The government will advertise nationally on Friday for five members for each board.
Mr Barr pointed to new obligations on the board members not to pursue personal interests at the expense of the authority, not to use board membership to gain personal advantage, and not to undermine the reputation of the authority. The chief executives are appointed by the boards.
The suburban land agency, which will develop new suburbs and look after land development and urban renewal in areas not declared as special precincts, must ensure a mix of private and public housing in new suburbs, and increase the supply of affordable and community housing.
Mr Barr said Canberra's population would be more than 420,000 by 2020 and the new new agencies would get the balance right between "a dynamic city centre and flourishing suburbs".
"The challenge ... is not let ourselves become a museum of the early 20th century's conception of city life but to aim to show how the people of this time want to live and work ...
"This must not be a city of bland and boring building of boxes."
Greens planning spokeswoman Caroline Le Couteur said land development had been "an incredibly contentious issue and I've no doubt the government wants to get it right this time".
But she called for wider consultation on how the agencies would work, including the siting of future precincts, and to ensure the planning directorate remained the preeminent planning authority.
"The major issue as far as we're concerned it to ensure there isn't any repeat of the LDA's cowboy culture in the new agencies," she said.