Catalysts for urban change

A major challenge for our planning system and culture is balancing optimistic perspectives with realistic expectations. While large developments and associated infrastructure may have the hype that tends to dominate the headlines, they so often lack intimacy and potential for a finer grain that the community is looking for. It is so often the smaller spaces and projects that can seed future place based changes, creating familiar localised venues for social engagement and small business.

This article has evolved half-way through a trip to research catalysts of urban change that has included San Francisco and New York where Trump impeachment looms large, and then London where the dying throes of their Brexit debacle are in play. Before departing I attended a Festival of Urbanism symposium at Sydney University on the future of urban planning, with contributions by Heather Nesbitt, Sarah Hill and Sue Weatherly (all well respected professionals in the realms of urbanism) that were so pertinent to the planning dilemmas that are being faced across Sydney.

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