City News

Sustaining Sydney’s culture: rhetoric or reinvigorating?

By now, many people will be familiar with the City of Sydney’s Sustainable Sydney 2030 initiative. At the next Council meeting on Monday, May 12, another phase of the initiative will be put before the table. But, what exactly is it and what does it hope to achieve?

Sustainable Sydney 2030 provides a strategic framework and vision for the City of Sydney’s actions over the next 16 years and covers a range of issues from climate change to the arts. It includes 10 strategic directions to guide the future of the City, as well as 10 targets against which to measure the progress.

The plan’s seventh directive involves the objective and strategy of a ‘cultural and creative city’, which is to be addressed at the coming council meeting.

In 2012, Council unanimously endorsed a motion that saw it advance work on developing a cultural policy through research and consultation with the creative sector and the broader Sydney community.

As a result, the last two years have been spent working on the Creative City Cultural Policy Discussion Paper which received an abundance of positive feedback while on exhibition from both the public and arts communities. Over 2000 comments, submissions and ideas were received during this time, all of which have influenced the direction of the new action plan and formed the foundations of the now proposed Draft Creative City Cultural Policy.

There are six key priorities that form the backbone of the proposed plan. They include precinct distinctiveness and creativity in the public domain; new avenues for creative participation; sector sustainability; improving access and creating markets; and sharing knowledge and global engagement.

The Lord Mayor Clover Moore has expressed her support for this plan and believes nurturing imagination and creativity are vital for great cities to thrive.

“Artists of all kinds bring our city to life, help shape its identity and spirit, and give it depth and resonance. That is why we have developed our Creative City Policy,” the Lord Mayor said.

The work complements the City’s Live Music and Performance Action Plan which is a series of initiatives formulated to reinvigorate the live music scene in Sydney and support local artists.

“I am confident that the Creative City Policy will ensure a robust future for Sydney’s cultural life, and maintain Sydney’s position as one of the world’s leading creative cities,” Cr Moore said.

Bec Allen, on the Sydney Your Say forum, painted a vivid picture of the type of city she would like Sydney to become.

“I want to be regularly surprised in a city that is so familiar. Unique events in unlikely places, bands in train carriages, rooftop cinemas, nights when museums stay open until 2am, bars in underground tunnels, permanent table tennis tables in parks, a former airport turned into a city park with a community vegetable garden (runway intact) [and] Sunday afternoon karaoke sessions in front of thousands (if you dare).”

John Wardle of the Live Music Taskforce says the draft policy is “welcomed news” but that it would “need to look further than grants and festivals if real progress is to be made.”