Sydney Your Say
Sydney is the vibrant capital of New South Wales and one of the biggest cities in Australia, with 5 million residents. Being a multicultural and multinational city, community engagement is crucial to ensure that the needs and concerns of the minority are addressed and that future projects benefit all. Since 2017, Sydney has allocated 1.7 billion AUD for building and construction projects in the next ten years, covering 400 projects to enhance the city’s livability and enhance cultural life. The investment includes public domain improvements such as parks and green space upgrades, new cycleways, public art showcases (e.g., artwork on the Eora minority) and increases in street tree canopy to reduce the heat island effect.
In most, if not all, of the existing and new projects, the city conducts a systematic community engagement process that is guided by their Community Engagement Strategy. This ensures that the community engagement process is transparent, inclusive and open for genuine dialogues with the residents, whereby the engagement should influence the outcome.
The city maintains a consultation hub, “Sydney Your Say,” where residents can obtain regular updates and hold community sessions. The online platform is widely used by the city to gather and provide information to improve community accessibility. To gather residents’ input, an annual wellbeing survey is conducted, while open data is provided to all, including transport and access, public domain, etc.
Furthermore, the city forms independent committees chaired by the Lord Mayor to hold regular sessions and gather input on pivotal issues. For example, the Local Pedestrian, Cycling, and Traffic Calming Committee established under the Roads Act is a technical review body to advise the City of Sydney Council on traffic-related matters although it has no decision-making powers. All agendas, meeting times and outcomes are documented and online.