Sydney Architecture Festival

(7.30pm, Friday 1 November 2013, Grasshopper Bar Temperance Lane)

Hello, everyone, it's great to see you all here. I want to acknowledge Paul Berkemeier, National President and Joe Agius, NSW President of the Australian Institute of Architects; Richard Thorp, President and Peter Poulet, Government Architect & Deputy President of the NSW Architects Registration Board and the members of the Sydney Architecture Festival committee, who've done such a wonderful job in putting together the 2013 Festival.

It's a knock-out. It's now grown to the point where it can offer 60 events over 25 venues, and this year spreads its reach out as far as Parramatta.

It offers guided tours by bike, boat or foot; talks and open houses; public installations and activities for children.

There's the Super Sydney project, giving people around Sydney the opportunity to record their ideas for transforming their neighbourhood; another project looks at the problems and possibilities posed by the polluted, but potentially wonderful, Alexandra Canal.

There's the amazing Blindfold Critique, where Richard Goodwin has volunteered - or possibly been coerced - into critiquing a building while quite literally blindfolded.

There are city walks both contemporary and historic, and a discussion dedicated to the City laneways that we, with the help of small entrepreneurs, have begun to bring back to life.

I will also be keen to see the Street Camps that will be set up Redfern, Woolloomooloo and Barangaroo. The idea is to highlight areas that are in flux, and the thorny issues of what urbanisation and gentrification mean to the often-marginalised communities that have long called them home.

And in this 40th anniversary year, there's a strong focus on the Sydney Opera House and what it means to our city, including an exhibition of those stunning David Moore photographs.

These are just a few items picked from the program, but they suggest the range and depth of what is on offer.

The City is proud to support the Festival. We are committed to drawing on the imagination and knowledge, the talents and skills of our architectural and design communities to keep lifting the quality of the City.

As always, I thank our Architectural and Design Advisory Panels for their commitment to this - and I thank the many wonderful architects and designers who contribute in so many ways to a better, more engaging and more beautiful Sydney.

I'm delighted to formally launch the 7th Sydney Architecture Festival. Have a great time, everyone!