Light Rail as a catalyst for City transformation

2pm, Lord Mayor's Reception Room

Thank you, Bridget, and hello, everyone. Thank you for your interest in this opportunity to learn from one of the world's leading designers of outstanding light-rail systems.

I'd also like to welcome our guest speaker, Thomas Richez .

The light-rail system we're about to start building in Sydney has fantastic potential to improve our city in many ways. Obviously, it will solve a growing traffic and congestion problem.

But if we get the design right, it can also create a vibrant and beautiful "main street" that Sydney still lacks.

The urban design is critical. It must create greater amenity for pedestrians and provide spaces for people to gather, to shop, and eat and drink.

As you know, the City has committed $220 million for public improvements along the light-rail route, including new street trees, street furniture and public art.

If we get it right, George Street will be Australia's premier street, one that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.

We have always looked to our international counterparts, to learn from their experiences and share our own knowledge. So when it came to thinking about how best to integrate light-rail into the heart of the city and its villages, we could not look beyond Frances.

Outstanding light-rail projects in Paris, Bordeaux, Rheims, Tours and Orleans share two things in common: they are all beautifully designed, and they all came from the practice of Thomas Richez.

So we are delighted to welcome Thomas Richez here today, and to have him share his experience of creating wonderful streets that combine modern light-rail systems with high-quality pedestrian spaces.

We'll hear how he shuns the "one-size-fits-all approach" in favour of a more nuanced approach which tailors each section to suit the specific location. The result is the world's most sophisticated, usable and appealing light-rail systems.

The City has recently engaged Richez Associes to provide us with design advice for the Sydney light-rail project, so please join me in welcoming him here today.