Priority for the majority – ideas about contested space from the 2013 UTS: Zunz Lecture
The future of Sydney’s Circular Quay was re-imagined in detail as part of the 2013 UTS: Zunz Lecture, with a predominant focus on how we make the Quay work for the people of Sydney.
The panel of six, covering a breadth of different perspectives across planning, commerce, the arts and government, voiced their opinions about the hot topic of contested space within the precinct, with the majority concluding we need one authority for the Quay to successfully progress its redevelopment.
The celebrated London-based architect, Richard Rogers and his fellow business partner, Ivan Harbour opened the discussion, declaring we live in an age of cities and that we need to focus on planning improvements that acknowledge a city is of the people, for the people.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore echoed their words, questioning why we persist on disconnecting our city from its beautiful harbour. Citing Danish architect Jørn Utzon, she suggested we should encourage people to explore what lies beyond and recognise the harbour provides a natural focus for people, along with an established cultural presence. Yet it remains a congested space, exacerbated by the lack of clear way-finding and visible visitor information.
Both Lord Mayor Clover Moore and the Honourable Bruce Baird, Chairman of the Tourism & Transport Forum advocated for the removal of the Cahill Expressway, explaining that its removal would enhance the life of every Sydney-sider and beyond.
Louise Mason, Managing Director of AMP Capital Office & Industrial contributed to the discussion by re-affirming that Circular Quay is a neglected showpiece because of its opposing projects, run by different authorities and resulting in a lack of emotional connection for the 70,000+ people that walk through the precinct each day.
The only challenge presented was by Malcolm Smith, leader of Arup’s Masterplanning Practice Worldwide who suggested we keep the Cahill Expressway but transform it into a green open verandah, allowing people to rediscover the fourth dimension of Circular Quay – the view from above.
The forum also heard from Catherine Gallagher, CEO of the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, who confirmed plans are already underway to deal with the contested space issue.
The Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at UTS, in partnership with structural engineering specialists, Arup hosted the event at the Sydney Opera House as part of their annual UTS: Zunz Lecture series.
For twelve years now the series, named in honour of Sir Jack Zunz, who led the design team on the Sydney Opera House, has stimulated high-quality public discussion and debate around broad community issues relating to engineering.