A new proposal for a key Sydney site raises questions about transparency in the planning process.
April 29th, 2011
As the City of Sydney reviews a development proposal submitted for the Green Square Town Centre by Leighton/Mirvac/Landcom, a designer of the project’s original masterplan has spoken up about what he considers a possible breach of public process.
Adrian McGregor, Managing Director of McGregor Coxall, was part of the Arets Turner McGregor team that won an international design competition in 2001 to masterplan the project.
After extensive community consultation, the Development Application was approved by the City of Sydney in 2008.
The City of Sydney is now assessing a development proposal submitted late last year by Leighton/Mirvac/Landcom – a proposal with significant changes to the original design, such as the introduction of extra streets into the public space, adding height to built elements, reducing the size of the civic square and increasing retail and commercial space.
McGregor has called for a review of the project by the new NSW government – a government that has expressed commitment to public trust and transparency in planning processes.
“I think that there is a lack of understanding in government that design excellence has been directly linked to the economic prosperity of cities,” McGregor said.
“Sydney is yet to realise that democratic public outcomes for public space or major public projects lead to a more progressive cultured city. Our governments have a role to foster public trust in planning processes and to ensure transparency in delivery.
“This is a real opportunity for the incoming government to enact their new policies and planning and commitment to community input.”
McGregor’s comments reflect his belief that architects and designers need to be proactive in encouraging and protecting the development of good civic areas in cities.
“Utzon began the process with his stance on the Opera House and I think the competition-winning Barangaroo design team of Hill-Thalis Berkemeier Irwin have done a tremendous job of defending design in the public arena for the good of the city. The design community needs to be active and outspoken on the need for high quality landscapes and public spaces in our cities.”
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