LuminoCity Launch

(12pm, Thursday 15 November 2012, Pier 2/3, Walsh Bay)

Thank you, Alec [Tzannes] and good morning, everyone. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our city.

I welcome this extraordinary exhibition from the UNSW Built Environment faculty. It's an inspired - and inspiring - idea to bring the work of the faculty's various streams together in one place, and make it accessible to everyone.

I hope it intrigues, inspires and provokes people to think about what our cities could and should be. About how they can work better, as well as look better. About how they can be agents for change as well as engines of the economy. About how they can be made more diverse and inclusive while developing a distinct identity.

Since I was first elected Mayor in 2004, I have looked to the design professions as essential partners in the making of a sustainable city.

Its not only about buildings and public spaces. It's about policy, and good policy needs to be based on sound evidence - something that the university's City Futures Centre supplies.

Equally important for our determination to make Sydney sustainable is the new Co-operative Research Centre for Lower Carbon Living.

Business as usual is always the easier option, and for many people, the more appealing option. It is not, however, an option we can afford any longer.

More than ever, we need bold and creative thinkers to help us shape the future city. We need people with a broad range of expertise - in design, construction, sustainability, landscape and urban development - to bring their skills and their passion to the debate.

We will need all those qualities in spades if we are to successfully tackle the complex issues facing our city: How to accommodate more residents and workers while minimising our carbon footprint. How to provide an efficient transport system; how to safeguard affordable spaces for essential workers and young creative people. How to provide open space and preserve the Sydney basin food bowl.

There are challenges for our Council. We have made a start, however and exciting initiatives like tri-generation are becoming part of our city infrastructure.

And we know that much more needs to be done, and we know that it is the young people whose work is represented here who are a great hope.

LuminoCity suggests the range of knowledge and skills developed in the faculty's 12 Built Environment programs, and also the depth of commitment of these 500 students. It gives me faith in the future of our city.

One of our early initiatives as a new team at Town Hall was to appoint a Design Advisory Panel, and I would like, in this forum, to pay tribute to all they have done to raise the bar for urban quality in Sydney.

They are a fantastic team and we are so lucky to have their knowledge and skills in the service of a better city.

The enthusiasm, the idea and the willingness to explore evident in LuminoCity - and in the accompanying program of talks and debates - augurs well for a new generation of people to continue to task of shaping Sydney.

I'm delighted to formally launch LuminoCity and I hope it will engages not only the profession but the wider public in this great debate!

Thank you.