What The Future Looks Like

Cities Leadership Institute Alumni and special guests braved a wet Sydney night (and unexpected road works) to gather at The Chapel in the Old Parramatta Gaol to celebrate the launch of Crafting Innovative Places for Australia's Knowledge Economy by Prof Ed Blakely and Dr Richard Hu.

According to Prof. Christopher B Leinberger of the School of Business, George Washington University, Washington USA, with this book, "Blakely and Hu have laid out a map of how the driving global trends of innovation and urbanisation are transforming the ‘Lucky Country’."

The gathered throng agreed, with a stimulating discussion kicked off by panellists Julia Suh (Small Shift) and Lisa Havilah (Powerhouse Museum) joined by the authors and facilitated by Katherine O'Regan.

The take home messages according to feedback from the event, were

  • Ideas are the new energy of the world and innovation is mobility knowledge;

  • The importance of Brand;

  • Businesses should invest in a place and not just the firm;

  • The interrelationship of businesses and arts/culture/creativity;

  • The opportunity to create ‘nests’ around the hubs where the ‘big birds’ do business; and

  • Why Parramatta is transforming into such a high-energy centre.

With support of the Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council, Cities Leadership Institute was privileged on this occasion to have exclusive access to one of Australia's most significant historical sites, currently not open to the public. The Old Parramatta Gaol (previously the Parramatta Correctional Centre) has been in operation in one form or another from 1798 until 2011. Ownership of the building was transferred to the Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council in 2015. As one guest explained, "Inside a chapel, inside a former prison, on country – what a synthesis!"

Following the panel discussion, attendees were treated to the ethereal music of Eric Avery on violin and his father Graham Davis-King on didgeridoo. Eric spoke passionately about place and history and the story of place before moving into his 'de-contructed' classical composition of a traditional lullaby, learnt from his grandfather and sung in language of the Ngampa people.

Our thanks to Stephen Wright and the Deerubbin Land Council, to Ed Blakely and Richard Hu for pointing the way, to our panellists Lisa Havilah and Julia Suh for so energetically and generously bringing their expertise and passion to the subject and, finally, to our wonderful Cities Leadership Institute Alumni and supporters.

Check out our podcast with Julia Suh recorded on the night!

The Cities Leadership Institute sat down with co-author Richard Hu during the event. Watch below.

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Level 23, 45 Clarence Street

Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia

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