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The city everyone’s business, but the city is not a business

  • Webster Theatre Room 208 Veterinary Science Conference Centre Camperdown Australia (map)


This session combined the insights of two noted urbanists Helen Lochhead and Philip Thalis with those of Marcus Spiller, from the perspective of an economist. In her talk Helen presented the lessons she has drawn from her extensive research into successful cities and what makes them so. High on her list was the existence of champions like the Mayors of the cities she studied, and the willingness to tackle big  things in small bites.



Philip focussed on some cautionary tales, including Barangaroo. He had some acerbic comments to make on the way in which urban decisions have been made in Sydney, and the progressive disinvestment in the city since the 1930s.


Marcus Spiller's talk explained of how cost-benefit analysis is used – or misused – as the basis of urban decisions. He provided practical suggestions for getting the most out of the cost-benefit paradigm and provoked lively discussion and questions from the audience.


Read the full report from the event here

Listen to the talks below.