NEWS

14 September 2016

Summary: Innovation Ecosystems Workshop - Making it Happen in Western Sydney

The Future Cities Collaborative, together with Deloitte and UrbanGrowth NSW, recently conducted a workshop with Professor Ed Blakely to examine how we can accelerate the innovation economy in Western Sydney. A group of key actors and urban leaders came together to discuss the findings from our recent report, Growing the Australian Innovation Economy, and apply them to the region.

David Tow, Head of Strategy of UrbanGrowth NSW, and a delegate on our US-Australia City Exchange on Innovation Ecosystems,  introduced the core components of innovation ecosystems, including the need to focus on people, create great places and authentic brands, attract anchor tenants, and cultivate the "squishy stuff" – the soft networking or glue that allows all the components to come together.

Professor Ed Blakely facilitating the discussion

Ben Artup, Director of Deloitte Access Economics, provided an overview of the successes, challenges and opportunities for Westmead's innovation precinct. David Ballantyne, Project Director for NSW Health Infrastructure, raised the important issue of the need to break down barriers in the precinct to allow smaller players like start-ups to take root amongst the more established institutions and organisations. These points reinforce a key finding of the Report, that successful innovation ecosystems rely on dense and diverse economic activity.

In the four regional precincts targeted in the workshop, Olympic Park, Bankstown Airport, Blacktown and Westmead, participants identified the key assets, possible anchor tenants and magnets, an innovation hub and a potential precinct identity.

The Olympic Park team explored how to unite the site's venues and facilities that are vastly different in scale and use under one banner, suggesting Wellness as the binding characteristic of the precinct. There was also a discussion around re-defining Parramatta as Sydney's centre and how to leverage the opportunities of the repositioning of Bankstown airport.

The teams explored innovative ways to make use of its large open spaces, suggesting activities from drone racing to new manufacturing techniques and dedicating space to incubators. A clear focus was not to predetermine the industry or use of the area but to foster innovation through mixed-use zoning, enhanced accessibility, opportunities for social interaction and inclusion of a range of businesses like microbreweries.

 Matthew Beggs, UrbanGrowth NSW, was allocated Olympic Park as an area to analyse during the workshop. He presents his team's ideas for an improved precinct identity. 

As former Managing Director of Australian Technology Park (ATP), Duncan Read now of UrbanGrowth NSW highlighted his experience and stressed the need to develop a strong authentic identity for an innovation precinct. While, Dr Awais Piracha of Western Sydney University, emphasised the importance of building connectivity between campuses via a bicycle hire scheme that could expand beyond the university's borders.

 Duncan Read, General Manager of UrbanGrowth NSW in discussion with Professor Ed Blakely

Key priorities that emerged from the workshop were the need to continue to build collaborations, create a clear and visible precinct identity and work on regional connectivity.

While there are differences in the levels of progress for each precinct in terms of innovation, work has indeed commenced to build cross precinct links and foster a collaborative environment so that the region can become more than the sum of its parts.

  • Photos of the workshop are available to view here.
  • The report is available to download here.

LATEST NEWS

Discussion with Jessica Lax from the Van Alen Institute
16 November 2016

The Future Cities Collaborative and AECOM recently hosted Jessica Lax from the Van Alen Institute, a 120 year old non-profit based in New York City dedicated to improving design in the public realm. The Institute divides their work into three areas: public programs, research and competitions.

Summary: Innovation Ecosystems Workshop - Making it Happen in Western Sydney
14 September 2016

The Future Cities Collaborative, together with Deloitte and UrbanGrowth NSW, recently conducted a workshop with Professor Ed Blakely to examine how we can accelerate the innovation economy in Western Sydney. A group of key actors and urban leaders came together to discuss the findings from our recent report, Growing the Australian Innovation Economy, and apply them to the region.

Report Launch a success | Growing the Australian Innovation Economy
14 September 2016

The official launch of the Future Cities Collaborative's most recent report, Growing the Australian Innovation Economy, co-produced with AECOM, was a resounding success with The Hon. Rob Stokes, Minister for Planning, presenting a keynote at the event that brought together an audience of over 100 key stakeholders across industry, academia and government at Customs House on 8 September.