ANZ Night Time Economy Forum Explores ‘The Sleeping City’

How can  the Sydney CBD become   a 24/7 Night Time Economy (NTE) and what lessons can we learn from it and other cities, regional towns and international examples to create a model for the future of the night economy across Australia?

The ANZ Night Time Economy Forum held on the 12th to 14th June 2019 and chaired by Dr Jonathan Drane brought many of these  issues to life and went beyond the typical tourist and event based analysis of this subject.

When Sydney (and other Australian cities and towns) substantially shuts down at 10 pm and relies predominantly on its transient visitor populations to feed its night activities, there is a long  way to go. The ANZ Night Economy Forum dealt with these issues taking the debate beyond the tempting focus on transient visitation solutions to the strengthening of the more permanent ‘structural’ aspects of the ‘city and place economy’ that might lend light to the creation of the 24/7 night economy of the future.

The forum brought together government agencies, local government authorities, industry, academia and legislators across Australian from Perth to Canberra, Hobart, Sydney and the Gold Coast then to regional settings like Lake Macquarie, Townsville, Newcastle and to Wellington in New Zealand and more. The cohort sought to not only understand big city, big population night economies but small vibrant regional examples and strategies.

Contributing to this complex, exciting topic were politicians, city planners, economic development managers, city precinct officers, urban designers, architects,consultants, retail businesses, industry associations and developers. Night economy market participants spanned areas from music to creative spaces and entertainment venues and into the international arena.

Many questions and issues arose and a framework for understanding the NTE arose:

How can Sydney maintain economic ‘night continuity’ when it relies predominantly on a transient population and not a more permanent ‘structural’ population and associated offerings. Events like Vivid and the Sydney Festival sporadically bring millions of visitors, but what happens ‘after the parade’. The canvass of the city at night it would seem is one of darkness with intermittent lit precincts and enclaves. The harbour foreshore lights up from the Opera House through the Rocks, Walsh Bay to Darling Harbour but the inner canvass is spotted with night precincts and enclaves such as Kings Cross, Angel Place, Cowper St Wharf  and more.

Meanwhile every work day, between 1 and 1.5 million people (1) come and go from the city in a transient daily migration of workers, tourists and other visitors.  But what is left in the city offerings between these migrations, and how does it resemble or become a night economy let alone a 24/7 city that never sleeps?

In amongst this transience, the Sydney Peninsula (Circular Quay to Haymarket- Darling Harbour to Botanical Gardens) has only 17,252 (ABS 2016) residents- its permanent ‘structural population’. Even the whole Local Government Area of Sydney and its population of 208,374 (ABS 2016) is not as large as Blacktown’s (Australia’s largest LGA by population at 336,962). Around 65,000 people of the 100,000 working residents who live in the local government area work in the peninsular.

See ABS Stats Page

Manhatten, the city that never sleeps, by comparison, has a permanent population of approximately 1.6 million and during the working week this swells to 3.9 million (2)  as a comparison. On this point also, right on our geographical doorstep is the power house of the Asiatic Cities and their vibrant night-scapes, which in some cases claim a longer history than the European and American examples.

And how can our city office towers and retail offerings afford to be empty of commercial activity  8 to 10 hours during the late evening and morning period. In the creation of these megalith towers, they are valued both commercially and economically on the assumption of   24 hour ownership, lease and usage and yet they often sit empty in the night hours? How much investment value and economic activity is being lost?

To give some historical perspective to these questions,  in the 1960s it was a common saying that you could fire a cannon down George St after 5pm. This was not some idea of insurrection but a statement that the so called city was really a glorified town formation with little resident CBD population and evening  offerings.

It is also in hindsight, a strange polarity that the re-known night time economy of that time revolved around a weird and rather advanced mix of dodgy night clubs and unprotected sex workers in Kings Cross.

The forum sought to define how a city can create a night time economy that goes beyond traditional examples of  restaurants, theatres, cinema, pubs, night clubs (and sex). The landscape of night time is divided into evening economy versus late night economy separating the concept of dinner related early evening activities to late night entertainment and clubs which in themselves have attracted controversy and restrictions due to alcohol/drug related violence and associated restrictions and curfews that remain the subject of intense debate.

The night time economy builds our economic profiles and international attraction but also attracts problems which were also addressed with expert speakers in this area from Lockout to other examples of greater access.

At the community end of the night time economy lies the safety benefits of people in the city at night from people returning home from work, to those heading out for a night shift. Homeless people benefit from government and benevolent services that extend into the evening from shelters and related services to libraries and government support agencies.

At the city planning end of the equation, how do we plan for these changes and indeed is planning the correct method for activation of such precincts and outcomes. Do we use stimulant instruments such as Mixed Zoning or do we instead as City Builders take a more proactive role and design and develop precincts with development bodies. Do we take the examples of Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, City West and Honeysuckle in Newcastle to create catalyst related precincts. Do we plan, design or develop a Night Time Economy.

Another consideration is the restraint that our city and town formations bring to us in historical terms. The typical regional town formation for example was designed with small resident populations in the town centre while the population worked and lived in the rural catchment surrounding the town centre. In the beginning, there were also no shopping centres, which is hard to imagine and in effect the town formation of old was the regional shopping centre. The two storey ornate formations of our historical towns is testament to this era and they held only shop top housing and no megalith apartment towers which only recently form the basis for a structural population that feeds on the streetscape below. The question arises how do we adapt low resident town formations to a vibrant night economy?

At the infrastructure end of things, how do we support a mobile vibrant night population with a safe transport option that does not rely on cars and car parking? How do we stop millions of people migrating across the face of our cities in a daily migration at peak hours and is this part of the night time economy solution or formula?

On the issue of sustainability and environment the recent election has reinforced the need for climate urgency but the validity of jobs and the need to feed our families. Even more compelling – is utilising our city infrastructure and city buildings 24/7 the city’s version of burning the candle at both ends?

These questions and concepts were the subject of review by experienced speakers who shared experience, examples and case studies to help us through the conundrum. Dr Drane ran a workshop see web page on the first day with several Local Government Authorities and other industry attendees covering ‘city precinct activation’  and to shift the emphasis from a purely economic lens to a ‘place economy’ and precinct/enclave focus.

Despite our existing vibrant night life precincts in our major city centres, our cities in general have a long way to go in the conception and realisation of these exciting new offerings.

Meanwhile the statistics show that there is a huge missed opportunity for our economy from the creation of an NTE. The Greater Sydney night time economy  employs 234,000 people (2017) and has the potential to rise from its current annual value of  $27.2B to $43.3B, an increase of $16.1B (3).

Out of the findings of the  ANZ night time economy forum we can further the debate, understand the issues and plot a path to the future of our cities both day and night with an emergent framework of understanding.

Stay tuned to Dr Drane’s web site for further updates on these frameworks and associated research initiatives which are designed to bring light to the night time economy.

Dr Jonathan Drane

Notes:

  1. Sydney City Council: The City at a Glace https://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/learn/research-and-statistics/the-city-at-a-glance. Viewed15 July 2019. 1.5million noted in forum.
  2. World Population Review: Manhatten Population, http://worldpopulationreview.com/boroughs/manhattan-population/  Viewed 15 July 2019
  3. Imagine Sydney – Play 2019- Deloitte- https://www2.deloitte.com/au/en/pages/future-of-cities/articles/imagine-sydney.html Viewed 15 July 2019

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Other Related Articles and activities by Dr Jonathan Drane:

Dr Drane was invited as Chairman for ANZ Night Time Economy Forum, Sydney, June 12th to 14th.

Dr Drane Master Class on Night Time Economy  run at ANZ Night Time Economy Forum, Sydney June 12th see web page and topic:

City Planning and Design for Night Time Economy: Building Vibrant Spaces After Dark: Learn More

Creating a Night Economy: Do we plan it, design it or develop it, as city builders. Read Dr Drane’s article.

Creating a Night Time Economy: Plan, design or develop?

Dr Drane’s Master Class on Street Activation run at Night Time Economy Council’s Workshop

Is B4 Mixed Use Zoning a Blunt Instrument or a Catalyst for Change?

Outer West Dormancy Study Workshop held to define research on city precinct activation.

Sign our Change.org petition- stopping the NSW State Government from closing submissions into Building Defects prematurely

Sign the petition on this link:

Read and Sign Petition

http://chng.it/fLTP2KHB6y

The current situation with dangerous building defects in the Australian multi-apartment sector is dire.

Apartment owners fear the worst, from structural failure and imminent fire to potential evacuation of their apartment block. This situation could even be life threatening and the tragic memory of  Grenfell (2017) and Bankstown (2012) still haunts us (see the photo chronology of key events above).

This petition exposes the inadequate time period that the State Government and Department of Fair Trading have given for the public and industry to assess their recent response  to the building defects situation and for people to make a meaningful response. The petition seeks an extension of time for the response to 30 September 2019 (an extra two months).

Background

There have been several reports to the NSW State Government over the past five years with the latest being the Shergold-Weir Report in February 2018. The industry and public have been waiting for a government response and finally it has come but with little public awareness and fanfare and now within an inadequate time frame.

The Government response is in the form of two initiatives:

The first is the sudden Dept of Fair Trading ‘Building Stronger Foundations’ paper which addresses the Shergold-Weir report of February 2018 and provides a submission portal see:

https://www.nsw.gov.au/improving-nsw/have-your-say/building-stronger-foundations/
and
https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/consultation-tool/building-stronger-foundations

The second is the NSW Legislative Council Accountability Committee inquiry see:

https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/inquiries/Pages/inquiry-details.aspx?pk=2540#tab-otherdocuments

These are long awaited responses and now the public and industry and others have been given only a month since late June to respond. The media campaign by both the Department of Fair Trading and the NSW State Government have been totally inadequate to gain the necessary reach for a life threatening issue that is close to the heart of all Australians. After all, everyone has a loved one who lives in an apartment somewhere who may not be sleeping well over this.

The second initiative was only media released on the 4th July 2019 and the portal released on the 10th July.

Call to Action

This petition seeks an extension of time to allow for a three month minimum submission process to allow for adequate public and industry response. Extend the date from the current 24 July 2019 to 30 September 2019.

Dr Jonathan Drane

Later life PHD- harnessing your industry experience, smarts and life’s passion

 

Should you undertake a PHD after many years in industry:  why, when and how?

My colleagues of many years are intrigued by my choice to undertake a PHD late in life. Some see it as inexplicable, some as madness and perhaps they are right on both counts. But I also know it was always in my wiring and something I had to do and my doctorate was created inadvertently and subconsciously over many, many years… decades in fact.

For those who are contemplating a thesis progression path through honours, masters and then PHD, this might be of interest and here is how my journey ended up like this..

I completed my PHD at UNSW Built Environment in 2015 at the tender age of 60 on the property development mechanism and its part in the growth of cities.  My passion and 35 year industry experience was for high rise buildings and their dominance of the city skyline. I started gazing at them as a young construction cadet with some awe and wonder at the also tender age of 18 with a site visit to the construction of the MLC Tower ( Sydney CBD) being built by Civil and Civic/Lend Lease in the early 1970s. Mystified by the experience, I  eventually started to actually write about this in my first thesis as an MBA student at MGSM in 1992 at the age of 37 as I was becoming a  young father of a small family.

My topic morphed  from there over many years into ‘City Growth & Development Dynamics’ and in particular how dead (dormant) city areas are brought to life. This occurred strangely by accident along the way for I had precipitated a property development in Townsville which was ‘planted’ in the semi-dormant city street of Palmer Street and became what I found was a catalyst project for the resurrection of  the precinct .

This dormancy theme and the high rise love from earlier in my life resulted in two research projects during a period as  lecturer at Western Sydney University in 2016 at the age of 61 and that was ‘The State of Contemporary Property Development Structures‘ and ‘The Outer West Dormancy ( Sydney Basin) Research Project‘ . ( See City Whisperer Banner above ). The latter obtained a seed grant and then an ECR Fellowship ( Early Career) grant. I got a kick out of that label.

I am now creating a Night Economy Research Initiative after being invited to chair the ANZ Night Time Economy Forum in June 2019 at the age of 64 and as a follow on from the prior research and its emphasis on precinct activation.

While all this occurred and to put bread on the table I created a research and advisory consulting group called Optimum Search in 1993 at the age of 38 fresh and naive from my MBA and have kept the doors open since that day despite some quiet times and some employment interruptions. This vessel is my career/business life blood and life boat and it has its ups and downs but it is the vehicle I always return to. I am even told by recent events that I am part of the Gig Economy which gives me a renewed sense of place.

I was inspired to create this life boat by many writers and industry role models but none more so than Antony Jay and his book  ‘Corporation Man‘. Antony is known more in the mainstream as the creator of the BBC series ‘Yes Minister’. However Antony’s key message was to divide the institution into two sectors The Hunt and The Camp which drew on a primal theme.To hunt was to bring business into the group and the camp provided the administrative  organisation that delivered the product or service.

Extending this to an agile existence now in the modern era has some relevance it would seem, so to divide your career/business existence into two parts and parallel paths might be a good strategy given the rising transience of work, the ‘under employment’ and gig economy and the digital divide that places people with digital smarts into a new elite and even dare I say a rising intellectual aristocracy.

Why am I telling you this? Because:

We are living longer to 80 and 90 years of age so I may have 30 years to live which is both exciting and daunting. Meanwhile at the ANZ forum a statistic was noted that the work force held only 4% of people 64 years and older ! I have felt this tide for many years now and all the more reason for my creation of a life boat in the form of a company vehicle that morphed and changed over a quarter of a century from advisory to research to entrepreneurship and back again as the tides came in and out in different zones both geographical and sectorial.

So how do you deal with this twilight zone in your life or is it too far away to think about. If you are enjoying life and your career and creating families, I know one thing. Time is fleeting so it might help to give this era a thought every now and then.

If you need mentoring on your thesis and doctoral path please feel free to contact me or Learn More

Dr Jonathan Drane ( circa age 60!)

 

 

Building Defects: An Engineer’s View

Five years ago I was asked by Engineers Australia to contribute to the Lambert Report (2015) and for my article Building Defects: A builder’s view to be included on the Building Professionals Board web site back then. I am not the only one to keep waiting for some government action on this vital area which is appearing on the news daily now with the recent Opal Tower and Mascot Towers incidents.

This article adds an Engineers Australia multi-disciplinary report in 2013 to the list and I am grateful to Charles Rickard for his article The Fall and Fall of the Australian  Building Industry (26 April 2019)  which  is reviewed here and brings this report to life.

My interest is in creating a chronicle and research base on this subject and ultimately for anyone to understand the complexity and decay of the Property Development, Design and Construction system and structures in the post war era. My group initiative The Property Development Doctor and The Defects Dilemma collects experts from all parts of the industry and seeks to bring peace of mind to multi-apartment owners who could be forgiven for assuming their home is at risk of fire or dangerous cracking.

The defects article I wrote in 2015, was requested to be written for the Strata and Community Title in Australia for the 21st Century 2015 Conference by Dr Hazel Easthope of City Futures Research Centre UNSW Built Environment. The request was to simply write an article on building defects from the point of view of the builder.  This sounded simple but was no easy task. The request unleashed 35 years of historical involvement, observation and doctoral research (2011-2014) of the decay in industry practices since the early 1950s across my involvement in construction, design management, project management, development management then property finance and development.

I was then asked to do a follow up presentation at the Building Regulatory Summit in February 2018 which was run expertly by the Building Products Innovation Council in the ACT. See blog for more details.

Here I turn Charles’ article into a symbiotic title:

Building Defects: An Engineers View 

In this article Charles Rickard  (Principal- Rickard Engineers)  provides a current  review of the building defects issue but also a really helpful historic view of the eras of professional control from the Architect being in full control ( a long time ago) to the current situation.

It also helps to understand the role Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) and the Accredited Certifiers (AC) that support the PCA for those who are trying to make sense of the certification labyrinthe.

Of particular interest is the depiction of a Multi-disciplinary report 2012-3 initiative by Engineers Australia led by Charles which preceded and supported the Lambert Report.

I am keen to keep a chronology of these reports, industry phases and current situation to maintain not only a current view but the history of decay of property development, design and construction systems and structures over time.

I look forward to seeing the 2013 MDC report which is a missing link in my current collection. This aside it is exasperating but sadly not surprising that yet another report by highly regarded experts ends up on the pile with no apparent dissemination or formal response by the State Government. The NSW State Premier, Gladys Berejiklian appeared on the ABC  7.30 report (18 June 2019)  recently noting there would be a response by December 2019.

The other reports include:

Wallace (2014) Lambert (2015), BPIC (2018) and Shergold-Weir (2018) which have investigated the building regulatory system.

Dr Jonathan Drane

Related Articles:

Building Defects: A Builders View

Defects: A Builder’s View- by Dr Jonathan Drane

Dr Drane Reveals the History of Decay in Property Development Processes Leading to Defects and Tragedies

Dr Drane’s ‘Defects Dilemma Initiative’ Gets Ministerial and Departmental Recognition

 

Creating a Night Time Economy: Plan, design or develop?

Dr Drane invited as Chairman for ANZ Night Time Economy Forum, Sydney, June 12th to 14th.

Dr Drane Master Class on Night Time Economy to be run at ANZ Night Time Economy Forum, Sydney June 12th see web page and topic:

City Planning and Design for Night Time Economy: Building Vibrant Spaces After Dark: Learn More

Creating a Night Economy: Do we plan it, design it or develop it, as city builders. Read Dr Drane’s article.

Creating a Night Time Economy: Plan, design or develop?

Dr Drane’s ‘Defects Dilemma Initiative’ Gets Ministerial and Departmental Recognition

The ‘Defects Dilemma Initiative’ which helps bring peace of mind to high rise apartment owners due to fear of dangerous defects, today obtained a formal positive Ministerial level response and Departmental Recognition from the Department of Finance Services & Innovation Department dated 3 April 2019.

The endorsement was issued in a letter by Mr John Tansey, Executive Director, Regulatory Policy 
Better Regulation Division. John is also a Board Member of the Building Professional’s Board.

The letter was in response to Dr Drane’s written submission to the Minister for Innovation and Building Regulation, Matt Kean after the Minister’s release of an announcement on 11 February 2019 titled ‘Biggest Overhaul of Building Laws in NSW History’.

The overhaul includes the creation of a Building Commissioner and was in response to the Shergold-Weir Report commissioned by the Building Minister’s Forum in August 2017.

There have also been other major  reports by Wallace (2014) Lambert (2015), BPIC (2018) and Shergold-Weir (2018) which have investigated the building regulatory system.

I guess these thing take time, but there is much to be done still.

Dr Drane’s initiative includes a Research Project  based on an initial free ‘Defects Assessment Model’, which supports a  Consumer Education Focus as well as an  Industry Action Group called The Property Development Doctor . The initiative is outlined in his campaign article published on 20 March 2019  titled ‘Help Give High Rise Apartment Owners Peace of Mind  from Defective Buildings‘ dated 20 March 2019.

Dr Drane is recognised for his comprehensive multi-layer understanding of the processes and structures of property development and construction with an emphasis on the decay of professional practices and systems over history, which have led to the devastating level of dangerous defects in the high rise multi-apartment sector.

Dr Jonathan Drane

How Can You Support the Defects Dilemma Initiative ?

Apartment owners are able to lobby their body corporate committee and building manager to participate for free in our initial assessment process which includes an initial survey.

Participate for Free in our free building defects analysis which includes a free assessment and a quick survey.

Register  for a place at our upcoming webinar series  which provides updates and industry engagement related to the ‘The Defects Dilemma’

Learn More about how the historical decay in property development and building systems have contributed to the level of defects in high rise apartment buildings.

Learn More about our Linked In Group called ‘The Property Development Doctor’ which is dedicated to bringing peace of mind to multi-storey apartment owners. Please join.

Free Building Defects Assessment

Having Problems with Defects in your Multi-Apartment Building? We are interested in hearing from you if you are in the following situation: -The building is a multi-story apartment building that is above three levels. -The building has been constructed in the last 10 to 15 years and is showing signs of multiple defects. -The building defects are substantial, potentially dangerous and could lead to structural or fire related issues. This could included the installation of Aluminium Composite Panel that is currently stable but a potential fire risk. And your relationship to the building is one or more of the following: -You represent a majority of the  building community ( e.g. body corporate committee member) -You are the building manager. -You are the body corporate manager -You are a lawyer representing a client or stakeholder related to the building -You are a builder or building professional who constructed the building. -You are a developer who developed the building. -You are an estate agent or financial intermediary representing the property developer of the building. -You represent a peak body related to the building or the situation. Help our Research Project: ‘The Defects Dilemma’ The high rise apartment building is in a state of crisis across the globe as a perceived safe form of accommodation for our families. Our own Australian tragedies and misadventures include (Bankstown 2012, La-Crosse Docklands 2014, Opal Tower Sydney 2018, Neo Melbourne 2019) and then there are the international cases like Grenfell (UK 2017) and the Torch Tower (Dubai 2017). The peace of mind of normal apartment owners is stretched to the limit. So how can you help solve this complex problem? Please help us bring peace of mind to apartment owners and  understand the nature and extent of the defects as part of our research project and we will ask you to fill in a short survey. Upon filling out the form below and the survey which we will send you we will provide a free assessment of your situation. The assessment will help you understand the causes of the defects from a systemic view i.e. how the property development and construction system that created your building has contributed to the defect levels you are experiencing. It is not a defects inspection. Learn More about how the historical decay in property development and building systems have contributed to the level of defects in high rise apartment buildings. Learn More about our research project called ‘The Defects Dilemma’. Register  for a place at our upcoming webinar series  which provides updates and industry engagement related to the ‘The Defects Dilemma’ Learn More about our Linked In Group called ‘The Property Development Doctor’ which is dedicated to bringing peace of mind to multi-storey apartment owners. Next Step: Fill out the form below and we will provide you with: a) the survey (your identity is anonymous and is used for research purposes). b) upon filling out the survey we will provide an initial free assessment of your situation as noted above. c) by filling out the form and sending it to us you acknowledge and agree with the waiver and conditions noted below.

Dr Jonathan Drane Optimum Search Pty Ltd Waiver: Any assessment is made by Optimum Search Pty Ltd and is an initial assessment only and does not include any site visits. The assessment does not cost you and there are no guarantees or warranties associated with the assessment. The assessment is based on our own research data and a survey that is issued by us and filled out by you.  The survey collects data on building defects that help with our research project and processes. Your identity remains anonymous.   The assessment is confidential and not to be issued by you to other parties nor relied upon for any legal, mediation or dispute processes. Optimum Search Pty Ltd reserves the right to not assess your situation at its discretion due to non relevance to the objectives of our research project. Any further requests for advisory services  are subject to a contract arrangement that is separate to this initial assessment and conducted by Optimum Search Pty Ltd.

Understand the History of Property Development and Discover the Foundations of Entrepreneurship: Mirages, White Shoes, the 80s and the GFC

Understand the History of Property Development and Discover the Foundations of Entrepreneurship: Mirages, White Shoes, the 80s and the GFC: