The Utzon Lecture

On Wednesday I gave the Utzon Lecture as part of a series of lectures sponsored by the University of New South Wales Faculty of the Built Environment. I spoke about the need for a clear vision and plan for New South Wales and the leadership and political will needed to put the plan into action.

I believe New South Wales has been in a holding pattern because big policy and leadership has deteriorated. There has been little interest in long-term planning; no vision or investment in the future; and no action that would step on the toes of vested interest, or anger the shock jocks.

As a result, our state has lagged behind in effective action on global warming, there's been a lack of decisiveness on land use planning, and there is a backlog of vital infrastructure needed for Sydney's effective functioning and competitiveness.

We need State Government leadership that responds to the challenges of growth and climate change; that builds co-operative relationships and that acknowledges that people are the heart and soul of a thriving state.<

The City of Sydney's Sustainable Sydney 2030, shows what can be done when a vision is developed in consultation with the community, backed up by rigorous research and planning, and then actioned.

As we developed Sustainable Sydney 2030 the consensus was clear, people wanted the City to take action to address:

  • climate change and reduce our carbon footprint;
  • traffic congestion and support a 21st century public transport system; and
  • the lack of connectivity across the City and reconnect the City to the harbour and its surrounding villages.

People told us they value Sydney's social cohesion and diversity and want it strengthened; they want a lively night-life, with greater choices of venues and late night activities; they want improved public spaces and a green city; and they want opportunities for artists, writers and start-up businesses to flourish in a global city.

We set ourselves ambitious but achievable targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing energy and water demand, reducing waste, increasing housing. We set targets for jobs, for the use of public transport, for cycling for walking. We established 10 "Strategic Directions" for Sydney and identified a number of key projects to revitalise our city.

Sustainable Sydney 2030 presents the case that a well planned and well governed city can provide a vibrant economy and high living standards, whilst reducing unsustainable impacts on the environment.

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