Festival of Urbanism examines housing affordability and heritage conservation


The University of Sydney’s Festival of Urbanism will this month return for its fourth year. This year’s program is set to explore the historical, political and economic forces that shape cities and urban life.

To be held between 31 July and 12 August, the festival will consist of talks, panels, films and tours, and will feature both local and international speakers, academic researchers, industry leaders, policy makers and community groups.

On the agenda will be a broad range of topics, relevant to our current state of urbanism. Smart cities, housing affordability, city growth, inequality, pop-up cultire, and heritage conservation are just some of the diverse topics on the cards for 2017.

This year’s program demonstrates a particular interest in the preservation and redevelopment of the North Parramatta heritage precinct and the Waterloo housing estate. Two events have been dedicated to unpacking each of these current developments.

In short, there’s a lot happening over the two short weeks of the program. To make it easier for you, we’ve put together a short list of our most anticipated events.

SMALL

When: 3 August, 6 – 8pm
Where: Tin Sheds Gallery, 148 City Road, Darlington

‘Small’ is an exhibition showcasing a series of projects made at a small scale by local architecture practices. Each project is residential in nature and has come about as a result of the transformation of an existing place.

EMERGENT CITIES

When: 3 August, 6.30 – 8pm
Where: Wilkinson Building, Lecture Theatre 250148 City Road, Darlington

Consisting of three talks, the ‘Emergent Cities’ session will explore city size and inequality, mixed-use megaprojects in Australia and Denmark, and how to build telecommunication infrastructure into smart cities.

WALKING TOUR: THE TRACK

When: 5 August, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Tracing a route from Circular Quay to Sydney Town Hall, this walk will focus on the defining urban and architectural elements of George Street. Works by Harry Seidler, Angelo Candalepas, Johnson Pilton Walker and FJMT will all feature in the tour.

SITE VISIT: NORTH PARRAMATTA HERITAGE PRECINCT

When: 5 August, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Parramatta’s Fleet Street Heritage Precinct is facing redevelopment, set to become a high-rise urban renewal area under new plans. Local advocate Suzette Meade and historian Dr Terry Smith will explore notable government architecture by Walter Liberty Vernon, Francis Greenway and James Barnet.

FILM SCREENING: WATERLOO (1981) DIRECTED BY TOM ZUBRYCKI

When: 7 August, 6 – 8pm
Where: Event Cinema, 505 – 525 George Street, Sydney

To coincide with resurfaced plans to renew the Waterloo housing estate, the Festival of Urbanism will be putting on a screening of Waterloo, a film that documents the story of the Sydney project in the 1970s. After the screening, guests are invited to a panel discussion featuring director Tom Zubrycki, Waterloo Public Housing Action Group (WPHAG) member Karyn Brown, and Future Method Studio architect Genevieve Murray.

INSIGHTS FROM THE URBAN HOUSING LAB: RESEARCHERS AND PRACTITIONERS IN CONVERSATION

When: 10 August, 6 – 8pm
Where: Sydney Nanoscience Hub, Camperdown

In this session, Nicole Gurran, professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Sydney, will draw on several recent Urban Housing Lab projects, with the intention of shining new light on contemporary housing and urban policy problems, and unearthing potential solutions. 

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