My wish for Sydney

UNSW architecture and urban design experts on what they would love to see in their city.

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New UNSW Built Environment Dean Professor Helen Lochhead. Photo: Nick Cubbin

Professor Helen Lochhead
Dean, UNSW Built Environment
“Make every infrastructure project a city-making opportunity. Much of our urban environment is being shaped by megaprojects, such as large-scale urban renewal and transport infrastructure, which have the power to transform a precinct or a city. Yet often they do not deliver on their promise, leaving split communities and scarred urban landscapes. Such complex urban challenges require innovative design-led approaches, which focus on “city-making”, not just infrastructure. Integrated strategies can deliver multiple benefits, both planned and unforeseen, creating more livable places that build communities.”
 
Sara Padgett Kjaersgaard
UNSW Built Environment

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“Sydney needs to develop a stronger relationship with its peri-urban and regional food networks to ensure food for a population of eight million by 2060 is not only available, but also derived locally. With adult and child obesity set to rise to 25% by 2025, ensuring local, fresh and nutritious produce will help contribute to the city’s health and wellbeing. Local food networks also support the local economy and provide an invaluable connection to place and identity between the city and its hinterland.” 
 

 

 

Professor Mat Santamouris 
Anita Lawrence Chair in High Performance Architecture 

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“Western Sydney suffers from a serious problem of overheating. Local temperatures during summer are up to five to six degrees Celsius higher than on the coast and this has a serious impact on the energy spent for cooling, indoor and outdoor comfort, and health. It also increases the vulnerability of the local population during extreme heat events. UNSW is developing advanced mitigation technologies, for buildings and outdoor spaces, which will improve thermal comfort conditions, decrease energy consumption and protect the health of the community.” 
 

 

 

 

Dr Hazel Easthope
City Futures Research Centre

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“I wish we could think of people’s homes as places to live first and as property assets second, and that government policies would follow suit. Homes are places that hold considerable social, psychological and emotive meaning. We need to understand that the places people live in are their homes, irrespective of whether they rent or own, have a mortgage, or live in an apartment or a house. It means that wellbeing should always be the priority and that we make policy and personal decisions with that in mind.” 
 

 

 

Dr Philip Oldfield
UNSW Built Environment

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“The technology now exists to construct skyscrapers with engineered timber. Around 30–40% of the carbon footprint in new, tall buildings is embodied within their building materials, specifically the concrete and steel in the structure. If we can replace these materials with sustainable timber we could provide Sydney with thousands of homes, at a high density, with a much lower carbon impact.”  
 

 

 

 

 

 

Professor David Sanderson 
Judith Neilson Chair in Architecture 

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“As a new arrival to Sydney, I have been overwhelmed by its beauty, pace, parks, nature, spaces and vibrancy of life. What I have enjoyed most, however, is the international quality of the city; with every nation seemingly represented. My number one wish would be more of this, and in particular the acceptance of refugees. Countless studies point to the societal gains of accepting migrants; Sydneysiders could share the warmth of their culture with those who desperately need it.”