Property developers may be forced to incorporate public art into future building projects if they want Wollongong City Council’s approval.
According to the council’s new draft public art strategy, entitled Animating Wollongong, the council should adjust its city-wide development controls to include requirements for “high quality public art” in new developments.
The strategy says there is “a well-established precedent of other NSW Councils integrating public art requirements into their [development control plans]”, and says the move would allow for employment of artists and other art and design professionals.
It would also have economic benefits, the strategy says, by promoting “high quality urban design” which would add to the prestige of developments.
For developers or investors, public art provides value, cultural investment and a connection with local communities.Animating Wollongong
“For developers or investors, public art provides value, cultural investment and a connection with local communities,” the draft strategy says.
“In many cases it provides a point of difference for a development. It can provide a meeting place or landmark and, more importantly, it can provide a way to engage with the people who will live, use and benefit from the development.”
The lengthy strategy, which will be debated at next week’s council meeting, also says public art should be a priority in the council’s capital works budget over the next five years and suggests spending $100,000 a year on transforming urban spaces with temporary exhibitions.
The strategy will help to “distill the Illawarra” and reflect the “cultural history, essence and creativity” in the built environment, by working with artists to represent the natural landscape, Aboriginal culture and migrant history in things like the Sea Cliff Bridge, footpaths and cycleways.
“At present there are few opportunities that capture this physical and social ‘essence’ of Wollongong,” the strategy says.
“A recent wellbeing survey ... indicated that only one in three residents agreed that the city’s cultural history, essence and creativity are reflected in the built environment.”
Animating Wollongong will go on public exhibition following Monday night’s council meeting.