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University of Sydney presents The Festival of Urbanism

With the Sydney population projected to grow to 5.89 million people by 2031, the city’s transport, public services and green spaces will be under a great deal of pressure. The University of Sydney’s third Festival of Urbanism will investigate what can be done to help ease the pressure on the global city.

The two-week festival from 1 to 12 August will investigate current challenges facing Sydney planning and the best ways of managing the rapid redevelopment of our global metropolis.

The University of Sydney’s Professor Peter Phibbs, Director of the Henry Halloran Trust, the sponsor of the Festival, and Head of Urban and Regional Planning and Policy in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, said: “Sydney’s growing pains are becoming more evident to the citizens of Sydney.

“Sydney’s challenge is like many global cities – how can we use smart technology, strategic investment, and smart policy to both accommodate growth and maintain Sydney’s position as one of the world’s most liveable cities,” said Professor Phibbs.

In response to the Festival theme ‘City Limits’, guest speakers, panels, architecture tours and an international exhibition will explore what impact intelligent planning and new technologies can have on rapid urban growth to help create better cities and a quality of life.

Kicking off the Festival is a public talk by the University of Sydney’s Professor Robyn Dowling on Smart Cities. Sarah Hill, CEO of the Greater Sydney Commission will respond to Professor Dowling and outline some of the initiatives of the Greater Sydney Commission.

In a partnership event with the Planning Institute of Australia, Patrick Fensham, winner of the 2015 NSW PIA President’s Award for planning excellence will speak on 2 August about Putting the public interest back into planning. An urban planner of more than 30 years and lead consultant on Sustainable Sydney 2030 for the City of Sydney, Fensham is a Director of SGS Planning.

The Sydney Environment Institute including the University’s own Associate Professor Rod Simpson (the Sustainability Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission), will host a discussion panel of civil engineering and environmental experts on 3 August. They will discuss current limitations of Sydney’s natural ecosystems and how a city can ‘work back’ from these environmental factors to create a more distinctive and livable city.

A Sydney Ideas talk delivered by University of Melbourne’s urban geographer Dr Kate Shaw on 8 August will look at how the culture of cities like Sydney, Melbourne and internationally have changed and evolved through social, political and planning factors. The talk, Is Sydney losing its edge, draws on Shaw’s current research on urban renewal in the 21st century, which considers ways of improving on the renewal projects of the last 50 years.

As technology continues to take over how cities operate, three leading University of Sydney academics in law, transport and interaction design will form a panel on 11 August to debate how far a city should go adopting new technologies such as driverless cars. The Dean of the University’s Law School will describe some of the risks associated with some elements of the new sharing economy.

A forerunner to the Festival of Urbanism, housing economist Professor Geoff Meen from the University of Reading in the UK will deliver the 2016 Annual Henry Halloran Trust Lecture on Wednesday, 27 July. Meen will discuss the housing affordability crisis, looking at the problem from an international stance by comparing the UK and Australian housing markets and revealing some common solutions.

The full Festival of Urbanism program including several other events is here. Most events are free but bookings are essential as seats are limited.

Event details:
What: Festival of Urbanism, brought to you by the Henry Halloran Trust and Cities Network.
When: 1-12 August (public launch on 1 August, 6-8pm)
Where: University of Sydney
Website: Festival of Urbanism

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