Monday, October 26, 2015

Sydney Silicon Harbor Proposal


Inside the ATP Innovation Center
ATP Sydney 1998
The NSW Government has proposed that the "White Bay Power Station will be reborn as a hub for knowledge-intensive industries", with a Request For Proposals to be issued this week. This is indented to form part of the "Bays Precinct", to the north west of the Sydney CBD on the Sydney waterfront. It happens that I proposed the reuse of a powerstation for a hi-tech center to designers studying this site in 2002.

In 2002 design students and staff from the "new" Bauhaus Dessau in Germany, visited Sydney and undertook a planning exercise for the area now known as the bays precinct. They were interested in the role of computers and telecommunications in the city, so I gave them a talk on Canberra's fibre optic broadband system entitled Canberra: Encircled by Light. As a footnote to this I proposed reusing the old Canberra power-station as a hi-tech centre.

The results of the Bauhaus study were published in 2003, as the book "Serve City: Interactive urbanism" by Neil Leach, Wilfried Hackenbroich and Regina Sonnabend, available in the libraries of the University of Sydney and Western Sydney and from Amazon.com.

Sydney hi-tech company Atlassian have suggested that the existing Australian Technology Park (ATP) which is in a repurposed railways workshop in Redfern would be more more viable. It does seem odd that the NSW government would be proposing establishing a new tech park, when they already have one languishing on the other side of the city.

In my closing address to the 1998 Information Industry Outlook Conference, I used the ATP to illustrate how Australia could create a cultured image to market its information industries. Rather than Silicon Valley, I suggested that Australia should model its hi-tech start-up strategy on Cambridge (England) and the so-called "Cambridge phenomenon".

An area which is growing organically into a hi-tech center is around UTS in Ultimo. This has the new UTS Innovation Building and the adjacent Fishburners Co-working Space.

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