‘Creativity and vision’ sought in ideas competition to reimagine Sydney’s public spaces

The Committee for Sydney and the NSW government have launched an open ideas competition to reimagine Sydney’s public spaces.

The competition seeks ideas that could enhance the way public spaces bring people together, encourage inclusivity and reflect unique aspects of the city.

NSW planning and public spaces minister Rob Stokes said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the beneficial role public spaces play in the mental, physical and the social wellbeing of communities.

“So much of the pandemic has been focused on what we can’t do. This is about what we can do, about seizing the incredible opportunity we have to rethink our streets, parks and public spaces into the future,” Stokes said.

“That’s why we want you, the people of Sydney, to share your ideas on how to improve, change and create even greater public spaces across Sydney.”

Caroline Butler-Bowdon, executive director of Public Spaces at the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, added, “We’ve seen how much value and joy great public spaces bring to people from our experience of the pandemic, but our public spaces make a difference to people’s lives 365 days of the year.

“The Public Space Ideas competition is a great opportunity to reimagine our public spaces – our streets, our parks, our community places. No idea is too small. We encourage creativity and vision.”

The competition will be judged across categories with nine awards to be handed, including best public facility, best open space, best street and a people’s choice award.

“Ideas could include transforming an existing public space or creating something completely new, but we want to hear from the community across Sydney about what they would like to see,” said Gabriel Metcalf, CEO of the Committee for Sydney.

A winner will be awarded by the minister along with two special categories: one for children and young people and the other for university students.

Entries will be judged by a 13-member panel that includes NSW Government Architect Abbie Galvin, AILA national president Shaun Walsh, Gehl Architects partner and managing director Henriette Vamberg, as well as representatives from Sydney’s universities: Elizabeth Mossop (UTS), Helen Lochhead (UNSW), Kerry London (Western Sydney University) and Robyn Dowling (University of Sydney).

The competition is open to everyone and entrants will be required to submit a 250 word description and an image of their idea, in the form of a sketch, drawing, rendering or similar. Applications close on 28 August. More information can be found on the competition website.

The competition is supported by Aecom and the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects.

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