d e a n   f o r b e S                                                            w a l k i n g ,  n o t  r u n n i n g . . .

Making a Difference: Australian International Education

Edited by Dorothy Davis and Bruce Mackintosh (UNSW Press, Sydney, 2011)

MEDIA commentary 2019

Planning Asian Cities: Risks and Resilience

Edited by Stephen Hamnett and Dean Forbes (Routledge, London,  2011)


eBook version

Sustainable Development in China edited by Curtis Andressen, Mubarak A.R., and Wang Xiaoyi (Routledge, London,  2013)

BLOGS 2019

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  1. Bullet Inner city apartments

  2. Bullet Urbanization handbook

  3. Bullet First 2019 blog



BLOG 2019                                                       scroll down to see more 2019 blogs


In August last year the New South Wales parliament changed the legislation on Short Term Rental Accommodation (STRA).

Previously apartment buildings could block STRA. The new legislation overrides the previous ability of the apartment strata managers, and hence the residents, to have a tight hold on this kind of activity. STRA renting will be allowed in all properties for up to 180 days a year. Being close to the CBD means that STRA arrangements are popular in Pyrmont. And of some concern to me.

The NSW Government is in the process of developing a Code of Conduct that will explain and clarify the legislation. When this is completed apartment blocks will be able to draft new by-laws setting out the specific requirements of residents within apartment buildings.

The concern among residents is just how much power will they have to manage STRA. A large majority, I expect, would want the opportunity to tightly control STRA activity, if not ban it altogether.

I am conflicted.

My first response is to insist on the residents’ rights to minimise the amount of STRA activity, and even ban it altogether if the majority of residents want it to cease.

However, I am also very aware of the vibrant small gig economy businesses that are popping up throughout Pyrmont and the parallel need for moderately low cost accommodation for the owners and workers in these businesses.

Either way, the Strata committees will find it even more challenging to manage the buildings under the new laws. The new legislation allows capping STRA activity at 180 days. How could this possible be managed? We have much to do before this is all finalised. (10/1/18)


Interested in Asian cities? The Routledge Handbook of Urbanization in Southeast Asia (Routledge, 2019), edited by Rita Padawangi, is now available. It is a monster of a book: 37 chapters and 516 pages!.

My essay on ‘Knowledge, Creativity and the City’ is chapter 3, pp 43-53.

Excellent reading for the January holidays! I will have more to say as the year progresses. In the meantime, make sure it is ordered for your library. (3/1/19)


Four years in Pyrmont and I still get a buzz from living in this high-density inner city suburb.

My regular walks criss-crossing the area and along the harbour never fail to clear my thoughts and occasionally come up with new ideas. When I need to get into the CBD it is a short walk on Pyrmont Bridge dodging speeding bicycles while looking at an evolving urban landscape dominated by restaurants and harbour walks.

Several major construction projects are underway across Pyrmont, including two nearby which have made the area noisier than usual. An Indian Mina bird nested a few metres away from my deck and added to the cacophony. So too does the yapping of a dog which regularly discards its bark control necklace. Occasional yelling on the streets through the day and at night can be annoying, but there are fewer episodes than a couple of years back. As I write this four police are chatting with a couple who regularly scream at one another.

I have enjoyed attending meetings of the Pyrmont History Group, ably managed by Donald Denoon, whom I membern from the ANU and before that the University of Papua New Guinea. The history of Pyrmont is quite fascinating and the local amateur historians are well informed. I dropped out of the NSW Writers’ Centre for the year but may well re-join in 2019.

M and I spent Christmas at Cape Hays on Phillip Island with two of my daughters and grand children. We managed stopovers in Lakes Entrance on the way down and then in Melbourne and after that Lancefield on the way back. We returned to Sydney in time to catch the spectacular New Years fireworks. (1/1/19)


Routledge Handbook of Urbanization in Southeast Asia, edited by Rita Padawangi (Routledge, Oxford,  2019)