Top Takeaways from our ‘Ask Me Anything’ with Urban Planners

We held a special ‘Ask Me Anything’ event at Mary’s Underground to explore urban planning in the night time economy. From the role housing plays in our city’s livability to understanding Special Entertainment Precinct, our panel of experts delved into it all. Our panel of experts included:

  • Andrew Thomas, Executive Manager Planning & Development, City of Sydney
  • Josh Roach, Director, Consume Planning
  • Samuel Austin, Senior Urban Planner, JOC Consulting 

Housing Density and Night-Time Economy

  • Our panel discussed what the State Government’s focus on housing density and availability will mean for the night time economy. While there are certainly opportunities to create a more affordable and accessible city for more people, there will need to be a balancing act between the needs of residents and businesses. For night time economy businesses it will be an important topic to pay close attention to – especially as more areas become densely populated and developed.

Special Entertainment Precincts (SEPs)

  • A significant aspect of the Vibrancy Reforms is the enhanced development of Special Entertainment Precincts.  The panel agreed that while localised challenges can occur, the benefits are substantial. Especially for creating strong local economies, bolstering arts and cultural output and creating an environment for diverse and exciting night time experiences. 

Working with local councils

  • Not all councils value the night time economy in the same way. Unfortunately some councils are more prohibitive and look to place restrictions on venues and operators. Our panel recommended that anyone struggling through this  maintain open dialogue and provide comprehensive information to facilitate the assessment process and mitigate risks. The key piece of advice was to speak to a planner from the start of your project to save time and money in the long run. 


The Role of Plans of Management

  • Among the wide array of planning mechanisms and controls, Plans of Management (PoM) provide operators with the greatest opportunity. The panel agreed that a well-crafted PoM can help preemptively resolve concerns raised by planners or residents, reducing the need for restrictive conditions that could later hamper the operation of a venue.


This event was part of the NTIA’s Key Industry Capabilities and Knowledge Sharing (KICKS) event series, presented with support from the City of Sydney