Many minds make great cities

8th April, 2016

Author: UrbanGrowth NSW

Planning for the future of our cities is both an exciting opportunity, and a significant challenge. As the NSW Government’s urban transformation agency, it is our responsibility to ensure the delivery of the best possible outcomes across our portfolio of projects, and part of this means ensuring that we have access to the best minds and latest research.

So it was particularly exciting to have Minister for Planning, Rob Stokes, endorse our UrbanGrowth NSW Universities Framework Agreement on Thursday, April 7. This agreement—the first between a government  urban transformation agency and multiple university partners—supports the federal government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, and governs a relationship that will help translate research at our leading institutions into commercial outcomes that will shape the future of Sydney in truly innovative ways.

Covering six university partners—the University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney, the University of Technology Sydney, Western Sydney University, the University of Newcastle and Macquarie University—the agreement allows UrbanGrowth NSW to tap into cutting edge research and academic thought, and feed it directly into our methodology and plans.

With a portfolio of projects across the CBD and Western Sydney, including seven major urban transformation programs, UrbanGrowth NSW is in a unique position to be able to shape the future of Sydney. The university partners—representing some of the best educational institutions in the world—are thought-leaders and educators, as well as the incubators of new ideas and the drivers of pioneering thinking and research. Together we have the opportunity to drive productivity, innovation, and thought-leadership across the development of urban policy and the delivery of urban transformation projects.

Through the agreement universities and students get the opportunity to pursue research and apply it to real world outcomes, with access to our urban transformation projects, research opportunities, learning events and industry exposure.

Students will also get opportunities to forge peer-to-peer networks, and establish pathways and connections into jobs and industry. It is particularly exciting to think that this means that the people who will be living and working in the cities of the future get to feed into the planning of what they will look and feel like.

The scope of this agreement also reflects the multifaceted influences on global cities. As such it is not just limited to the academic disciplines of planning and architecture, but also includes the faculties of business, science, social sciences, urban studies, geography, information technology, creative arts and design, education, and law. It seeks to not only unlock the expertise within these areas, but also to strive to further innovate and explore opportunities for further collaboration and engagement.

We will regularly meet with our university partners to discuss the direction of the agreement, and once a year host a public State of Engagement Forum where we will outline what progress has been made towards delivering innovative planning outcomes for NSW.

This collaboration is an exciting opportunity which demonstrates leadership, vision, and the courage to explore innovative approaches to the delivery of government projects and policy. It provides a great opportunity not just for our organisation and our university partners and students, but also for Sydney and NSW.

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