Simon Shackleton
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Sydney - The Death of a City?

I first went out to Sydney back in 2003 I think and was struck by the vibrancy, passion and self-confidence of what felt like a truly global city. It felt like somewhere where anything was possible, & whilst it wasn't the most culturally rich city (in terms of homegrown talent), it more than made up for it in it's willingness to import the best from around the world. It was also extremely musically literate, with a burgeoning festival ethos that catered for a broad range of music tastes.

READ THE GUARDIAN'S PIECE ON SYDNEY

Over the years, that vibrancy has been slowly eroded by lockout laws, the power of new money and hugely conservative governance & NIMBYism. Perhaps the good people of the city will ultimately find it in themselves to push back against this blandification and put their needs firmly back on the agenda. Perhaps they will give the uber-conservative mainstream something to think about. Do the powers that be really want a city of people without a release valve? Or are you content living out Orwell's dystopian nightmare?

In any case, there is a *salutory* warning here for many of the world's most vibrant and culturally active / diverse cities. Don't take anything for granted. Nothing is static and even the most intense, creative hubs can be divested of their value when the nouveau riche move in.