Monday, October 20, 2014

Planing The New Sydney Harbour Bays Precinct

Greetings from the University of Sydney, where a panel of planning experts is speaking on "What’s the Plan? The Bays Precinct panel". The  "Bays Precinct Urban Renewal Program" includes 80 hectares of Government owned land, the White Bay Power Station, Glebe Island, White Bay, Rozelle Bay, Rozelle Rail Yards and Blackwattle Bay and the Sydney Fish Markets.

A two day by-invitation summit on this will be held in Sydney on 19 to 20 November 2014 and workshops for the public in February 2015. This evenings event is in addition, as part of the Festival of Urbanism.

In 2002 students and staff from the "new" Bauhaus Dessau visited Sydney and undertook a planning exercise for the city foreshore. They were interested in the role of computers and telecommunications on the city, so I gave them a talk on Canberra's fibre optic broadband system: "Canberra: Encircled by Light". 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".  The effect of ICT on city design and innovation industries is even more important today.

One of the urban waterfront mentioned by this evening's panel is Vancouver. A few weeks ago I was on that waterfront on the Eastern side of Vancouver harbor, around  Lonsdale Quay. This development has managed to retain some of the harbor industry, as well as building offices, shops and homes.

Berlin also got a mention as a location which has had significant development. My impression was that Berlin has rushed into high value development and ended up with more than needed.

What interesting aspect of this development is what would attract Google, who are reported to be looking for a new larger Australian headquarters ("Google searches for blue-ribbon HQ - but can it fit in Sydney?", Mercedes Ruehl, BRW, 2 October 2014).

The topic of "affordable housing" and "key worker housing" came up on the panel. In London this seems to be dome by having very small apartments which are reserved for specific  low salary essential staff, such as nurses, police. Islington has a Shared Ownership Scheme.

One issue which came up is corruption.Currently a significant number of NSW government officials are under investigation for corruption for having accepted illegal payments from developers.

An example coted of a successful waterfront redevelopment was Honeysuckle, Newcastle, NSW. However, I found it a little sterile and Disneyland-like.

I got to ask a question: "My question is has the effect digital tech will have on the urban fabric being taken into account in the Bays Precinct planning. I helped a design study by students from the "New" Bauhaus, which included digital. Has anyone got the copy of their report out of the University of Sydney library. Also have you asked Alan Noble at Google what to do?" None of the panel answered.

It was an interesting evening. There is further event tomorrow: Dr Kate Shaw: Melbourne Docklands – where it went wrong and why Australian governments don’t learn,

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