Unfortunately in Sydney right now there are more live music venues and creative spaces closing down than opening up, but City Of Sydney want to change that by making it easier to create creative spaces in existing buildings.
Last year the City Of Sydney hosted a forum bringing together industry experts and stakeholders to explore how best they could improve the building regulations that produce “serious barriers for establishing new creative spaces,” and now they have presented those ideas in a discussion paper, calling for a response from the public.
“Forum participants found smaller creative enterprises often have to negotiate a highly ambiguous system designed for larger projects,” the New Ideas For Old Buildings discussion paper states.
“Navigating these regulations can be expensive, time consuming and confusing.”
The purpose of the paper is to develop “processes to help adapt existing buildings for new, creative purposes, providing more resources for the creative sector,” which means that, if achieved, if would be easier for live music venues to set up in old buildings and warehouses.
The forum used four creative space case studies including Sydney’s Red Rattler, Melbourne’s Corner Hotel and the Sydney Opera House to explore the regulations and the various costs of setting up a space that complies with them.
One of the major findings of the forum was that current “building or planning classifications” are not suited to small creative projects and they often have to comply “with regulations designed for much larger activities”.
The paper is not only focussed on live music venues but also creative hubs, theatres and other performance spaces, stressing that it is necessary to “adapt existing buildings” to host these venues rather than build new ones because many cannot “afford to build custom-made facilities”.
The forum came up with a number of solutions that would serve to rectify this. They noted that it would be beneficial to develop “a model guideline for the adaptive re-use of existing buildings” and also hold bi-annual events to discuss “creative activity and the built environment”.
The paper also notes that it’s vital to continue to create creative spaces as 40 per cent of Australia’s creative workforce lives in NSW and the industry as a whole contributes $1.4 billion to the state economy.
While it’s likely going to be a long road before any change is made as there are many hoops to jump through to create “smarter regulations,” the City Of Sydney is calling for feedback from state and federal government agencies as well as wider stakeholders.
If you feel you have feedback to give on the subject, you can do so here. You can also read the full discussion paper.