Young Oliver Twist was scalded for having the gall to ask for more. Is Adelaide bold enough to do the same?
Liveable cities are for people. Get things right and a well-planned and well-managed city is often described as friendly, safe, cosmopolitan, cultural, vibrant, green, walkable, aesthetic and accessible. Get things wrong and the adjectives include unsafe, congested, ugly, boring, austere, polluted and other less endearing descriptors.
The good news is as far as liveability is concerned, Adelaide is doing well. In fact, it’s doing very well. Already the fifth most liveable city in the world, Adelaide is a great place to live. It is a classical yet progressive city with a wonderful climate, a cherished green belt of Park Lands, a social conscience, an innovative and creative community and it is still reasonably accessible.
However, I encourage you to consider the inter-relationships between liveability and prosperity. Are they mutually exclusive? I think not. Could we dare to ask for both in abundance? If not, why not?
While we all mostly acknowledge that Adelaide is liveable, the conversation becomes more vexed when it comes to the prosperity side of the ledger. As a former long-time entrepreneur myself, I am hard-wired to search for opportunity and the need to measure it. Thankfully, I am also hard-wired to mitigate risk. Having been fortunate enough to lead the state’s capital city council since 2014, the city councillors and I have a robust plan to further improve both the City of Adelaide’s liveability and its prosperity.
Council’s 2016-2020 strategic plan is characterised by the key themes of being a smart, green, liveable and creative city. These four words have 110 separate actions behind them. These 110 actions are reported on annually.
A ‘smart city’ is one that embraces technology and education. Council’s ‘10 Gig City’ data project is a good example. A ‘green city’ embraces sustainability as both an environmental necessity and an economic opportunity. Council’s Carbon Neutral Adelaide 2025 strategy is an example.
A ‘liveable city’ provides the right infrastructure to attract people and enrich their experience when they get here. Council’s laneways, bikeways and tramways partnerships are all examples. A ‘creative city’ is the essential ingredient that builds confidence, capacity, self-expression, generates new ideas and fosters greater innovation. Council’s support for the multi-cultural, arts, conferencing and entrepreneurship sectors are some examples out of many more.
It’s a plan for growth and prosperity. It’s a plan which involves partnerships with government, community and the private sector. All are needed.
While the nation embroils itself in a seemingly endless stream of divisive debates and distractions, the City of Adelaide remains intent on doing something seemingly quite unique in today’s day and age. That is, being clear about what success looks like and remaining focused on delivering a plan to make our city more liveable and prosperous.
Martin Haese, Lord Mayor of Adelaide