If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s CBD, then Parramatta is the place for you. Known as the ‘western power centre,’ the area is undergoing a transformation that is quickly turning it into the ‘Barangaroo of the west.’
The Parramatta River canal, however, needs to be addressed during this revitalization process. While it’s an excellent place to walk along, it could be so much more than that. The canal between Marsden and Charles street weirs spans what used to be the tidal zone of the river. While there’s an environmental case for removing the weirs, the intertidal zone doesn’t make for a great urban park.
Instead, we should remove the Charles Street weir and lower the river and park level several metres, allowing ferries to reach the Riverside Theatres and reducing the flood risk of the CBD in extreme rainfall events. By doing so, we can beautify the area and provide a unique experience for both locals and tourists.
Building higher-end developments in desirable areas is one way to solve the housing crisis, at least according to Parnell Palme McGuiness. While it’s a promising solution, we must address the growing population, which will more than double in the coming years.
The rich may get richer as the population expands, but the resources required to sustain such growth put a strain on the environment. Can we sustain endless population growth without harming the climate?
Koalas at Risk
The principles of planning in Greater Sydney will face their ultimate test when it comes time to develop the remaining native woodland. Wiping out 300 to 500 chlamydia-free koalas to build 3300 homes on the city’s expanding urban edge is hardly something that could be defined as great city design.
The developers claim to have top-quality sustainability credentials, but we should seriously consider the fate of threatened native animals and the 600 public submissions (testimonies) before allowing this development to proceed.
AI’s Superior Skills
The arrival of Artificial Intelligence in medical diagnostics is exciting, but it raises questions about responsibility. If AI gets it wrong, who will be responsible? Will doctors be held accountable for the errors of an allegedly superior authority?
We all want more accurate diagnoses, but we also want to know who to contact for redress if things go wrong. As AI evolves, we must hold those responsible for its accuracy accountable.
If we are going to protect our winter sports, we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, says Climate Council research director Martin Rice. However, Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are minuscule compared to those of other nations. To ensure the continued existence of our ski season, we must rely on those massive emitters making reductions on behalf of us all.
Parramatta’s Renaissance is underway, and it’s up to us to ensure it’s done right. By addressing the canal, housing crisis, threatened wildlife, and environmental issues, we can transform Parramatta into the western power centre that Sydney deserves.