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I'm interested in which individuals are going to rise to the top as the key drivers of excellence in urban renewal in Sydney. Im not just interested in the design/architecture names but also academia, planning, engineering, leadership, etc
 

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Couple of architects worth mentioning;

Richard Francis Jones from FJMT - did recently completed ANZ Bank Centre, Darling Quarter and Surry Hills Library & Community Centre. Architect for upcoming 200 George Street, SICEEP Hotel and Andara apartments at Barangaroo.
Koichi Takada - Architect for upcoming Crown Green Square, Sydney by Crown, Skye by Crown, East Village retail interiors.

NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian is also quite influential - she is the driving force behind the new Sydney rapid transit network (Stage 1 of the first line will be operational by 2019) and Sydney light rail (second line begins construction next year and is due for completion circa 2020). The latter project involves the pedestrianisation of 5 blocks of George Street from Bathurst to Hunter. This was long championed by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

Clover Moore has brought about some other significant changes. This includes easing liquor licensing laws and opening up laneways and unused spaces for small businesses, installing public artwork (including the recently announced 'Cloud' on George Street) and greening of the inner city.
 

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What about Donald Bates, architect of Federation Square in Melbourne, and head of the department of architecture at the University of Melbourne?

I was on a design competition jury with him in Vietnam, and he was an impressive thinker.
 
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