A food business incubator, a pilot program for apartment communities, shared spaces in residential developments and support for socially responsible local businesses are actions identified in the City’s new 10 year social sustainability action plan.
Designed to ensure Sydney remains a liveable and inclusive city with strong social connections and communities, the plan has been endorsed by Council and is now on public exhibition – and the City is seeking feedback from across the community.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the plan had been developed after extensive consultation with thousands of people across the community.
“With a fast growing population and large scale urban transformation underway, we know the decisions we make today and over the coming decade will affect our children and our children’s children,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Building on our long term investment in social programs, community infrastructure, accessibility, parks, playgrounds and affordable housing measures, this action plan is focussed on effectively delivering on our commitments to the Sydney community.
“We are committed to making Sydney a city for all, where progress is measured by community resilience and social justice, not just productivity.
“At the heart of the plan is our First Nations community, with a pilot program employing Aboriginal guides that will help forge a greater connection between our city’s parks and open spaces and our vital Gadigal history.”
The plan is the result of extensive consultation with the community, involving more than 2,400 people, and a people’s summit of 200 people randomly recruited as community representatives to set the plan’s priorities.
The 10-year plan outlines the City’s existing programs and actions, and presents a number of proposed new initiatives including:
- Sydney food business incubator – a three-year pilot project involving the City of Sydney, University of Sydney, federal and state governments and social enterprises. A food business incubator would support disadvantaged people to start their own food business, supported by vocational education and training. This model for addressing food insecurity and inequality has been established in many US cities and globally.
- Vertical communities – a program to strengthen social connections among people living in apartment buildings. The City will develop pilot programs to improve the wellbeing of apartment residents, including ‘community concierges’, ‘vertical block parties’ and new communal spaces. Results from the pilot projects will be reviewed before successful models are rolled out across the city.
- Promoting shared spaces through new development – the City will encourage developers to create shared indoor and outdoor community spaces in new residential buildings.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander discovery guides – a pilot program to promote greater connection to country through the City’s parks and open spaces. Aboriginal guides will share knowledge with the community through an immersive learning program.
- Supporting socially responsible small businesses to deliver positive social impacts in the local area, strengthen their corporate responsibility and economic inclusion outcomes and improve their socially responsible procurement and work practices.
- Supporting digital inclusion – the City will use digital technology to improve service delivery and stakeholder engagement.
The social sustainability action plan will create greater economic opportunities, as evidence shows cities that are committed to social justice and inclusion also do better economically.
The Australia Institute Chief Economist Richard Denniss said focusing on social sustainability would help make Sydney more resilient.
“Ensuring that jobs, income and housing are distributed fairly across a city is not just good for social cohesion, it’s good for the growth of the city as a whole,” Mr Denniss said.
“While there are no simple solutions for ensuring housing is affordable and the distribution of opportunities equitable, the simple fact is that cities that turn their backs on such problems will not just cause harm to the most vulnerable members of the community, but to the strength, resilience and prosperity of the city as a whole.”
The plan responds directly to the United Nations sustainable development goals and Sustainable Sydney 2030.
Submissions are open until 25 May 2018. For more information about the action plan or to have your say visit sydneyyoursay.com.au/socialsustainability
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