A recent event has discussed ideas for the future of the Illawarra, and how innovations in planning and infrastructure could transform the region.
Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW last week hosted a 'Transforming the Illawarra' luncheon in Wollongong.
Sue Holliday, Professor of Planning Practice at UNSW and former head of Planning NSW discussed strategies for change.
Mrs Holliday also joined David Laing, senior principal at Cardno for a panel discussion on the key planning and infrastructure needed to transform the region's future.
UDIA NSW's Greater Western Sydney & Southern Region manager Keiran Thomas said Mrs Holliday challenged attendees to focus on making Wollongong a great city first, rather than focusing on infrastructure requirements.
Mr Laing's presentation noted the Illawarra's "good" (such as proximity to Sydney, Canberra and Southern Highlands; UOW/TAFE), "bad" (expensive houses; daily grind of workers driving to Sydney every day) and "ugly" elements (often on the wrong side of government demarcations on funds).
"I think the main message is that there are a lot of great things happening in Wollongong," Mr Thomas said.
"But we are in an increasingly competitive environment with other cities like Geelong and Newcastle, and we need to focus on making our city a unique offering to residents, workers, businesses and tourists."