Planning for the future

The 5 top priorities for our city’s future, according to Sydneysiders

We spoke to more than 5,000 members of our community about their vision for our city’s future. Here’s what they had to say.

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Earlier in the year, we set out to speak to as many people who live, work, study in and visit our local government area as we could. We wanted to hear views from as diverse a group of people as possible to inform our updated strategic plan for Sydney.

Learn what we mean when we talk about Sydney 2050.

This was a huge undertaking. We held workshops and community meetings, visited schools, and asked for feedback in a survey and on social media channels. We spoke to our advisory panels, local business owners, school students and people on the street. See the full breakdown.

We analysed all that data to work out what’s most important for our local community as a whole as we plan toward Sydney 2050. Here’s what you told us.

1. Liveability and community should take top priority

People are thinking deeply about the use of space in our city – specifically the competition for it and who should benefit. Liveability was a key concern for many people. That covers things like housing affordability, opportunities to form social connections, and an overall safe and inclusive community. Many of you highlighted how important it is for the city to be green, with trees and plants and enjoyable public spaces.

What you told us: “My idea for our city’s future is that we live in a collaborative society where everyone’s strengths are utilised to make our environment a better place.” – Participant in library consultation event

Key stat: 85% of people are excited about a city with buildings covered with plants or incorporated into their design

2. Transport and walkability matter

You’re excited about the prospect of having less cars on the road, and better public transport options. Residents want to be able to get from A to B as easily as possible – including active transport options such as walking or riding a bike. Some workshop participants said a great transport system is directly linked to their own individual happiness and wellbeing because it means more access to social activities.

What you told us: “The better the transportation system, the happier we will be” – Participant at a community session held in Mandarin

Key stat: 78% of people who completed the survey are concerned about traffic congestion and inadequate public transport

3. Climate change remains high on the agenda – especially for young people

Overwhelmingly, you’ve told us that you want to see action on climate change. We heard this from people of all age groups and backgrounds – although it rated especially highly for young people.

This means an overall reduction in carbon emissions, an efficient waste management system and advocacy, alongside individual action like recycling and re-using products. At our business workshop, we heard that local business owners are already adapting to consumers’ changing behaviour and are beginning to preference locally-made, recycled and second-hand items.

What you told us: “Dear Sydney, in the future I hope you have a ban on plastics and overcoming climate change.” – Library consultation event

Key stat: 86% of online survey respondents agree the City of Sydney should invest and advocate to address climate change

4. A lively city for everyone to enjoy

From local markets to more cinemas, you want to enjoy a lively city now and into the future. That means different things to different people. Your ideas included: making better use of our unique outdoor spaces, finding new ways to engage with Aboriginal culture and encouraging local and international festivals. And of course, you called for more late-night options such as live music.

What you told us: “… more 24/7 availability to align more closely with other global cities. Our nightlife would be more immersive, inclusive and culturally relevant.” – Business workshop participant

Key stat: 70% of primary school students and 58% of people under 30 said they were excited about a city that celebrates Aboriginal communities, culture and connection to country

5. Planning for the future economy

New technology is seen as both an opportunity and a threat for our city’s future. For example, some university students expressed concerns about the skills and knowledge required to forge a career in the face of increased automation in jobs. And many people expressed hesitation about the potential use of drones and artificial intelligence in our city. But on the whole, you told us that you’re optimistic about the opportunities that will be available in terms of education, jobs, innovation and the economy.

What you told us: “I’m excited about Sydney’s future that supports entrepreneurship and innovative ideas and startups.” – Advisory panels workshop participant

Key stat: 4 out of 5 survey respondents thought that it was important the City of Sydney supports the local economy and jobs

Does this spark a big idea?

It’s not too late to get involved and have your say in the future of Sydney.

If you have large-scale transformative ideas that could help realise the vision for Sydney, we want to hear from you. Submit your idea for action by Saturday 31 August and see what ideas other people have.

All ideas will be considered by a citizen’s jury who will make recommendations on these.

The next phase of consultation for our Sydney 2050 plan runs until November 2019. It includes summits for children and young people, an innovators expo, more targeted surveys and industry briefings. To stay involved, join our community research panel.

This article has been adapted from the Sydney 2050 community engagement insights report.

Published 30 July 2019

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