Recognising that the greatest cities in the world (New York, London, Paris) are amalgams of discrete communities and places – with their own character and unique creative cultures, McInerney asks, “Why has Sydney failed to recognise and celebrate its unique places?”
Partly this is due, he says, to the 1950s adoption of the Central Business District concept and, more recently, the planning of the Central City as a series of projects rather than a City integrated with its surrounding inner city communities. The previous city boundaries reinforced this separation of the City Centre from its context. McInerney says that the new approach is based on the way that world cities actually work. The broad principles will be:
- Re-establish local communities – through creative spatial planning, related urban design projects and meaningful community consultation, leading to the identification and development of unique village type places.
- New approach to transport planning – central to the functioning of these revitalised city places (This vision for a City of Villages is closely linked with an Integrated Transport Strategy).
- Pedestrian and bike plans – designed to focus on, and link, the village places.
- Village centres based around community-owned buildings and former Council Halls – these will provide locations for Sydney Council functions and community information centres.
- Long-term strategic plan for community facilities – developed with consultation, for needed improvements to libraries, commun-ity centres, pools and more, with locations carefully chosen to enhance village places.
- Economic Development Unit – set up in Council with a particular focus to promote a return of small business, with a better mix of businesses to meet the shopping needs of city villages, including action to foster markets in our village places.
- Strategic long-term planning for the city centre – growth of commercial floor space to meet needs beyond the next ten years will be planned to preserve and enhance the historic, distinctive, creative and vibrant inner city villages. An Economic Plan for Sydney will be undertaken as a priority, referring to models such as La Defence in Paris.
- Comprehensive review of public open space – to assess and meet the recreational needs of growing inner city communities.
- Sustainability will be a core component – appropriate environmental rating schemes, with measurable achievement levels, will be identified. Waste management and recycling Council works, operations and controls will be geared to world’s best standards.
- Planning controls and systems will be overhauled – to provide certainty and transparency for residents and developers, with meaningful consultation balanced with efficiency in processing applications. Design excellence procedures will be rationalised, with commitment to good urban design as good business and community sense. For more information contact [email protected]