The first-year Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce student was named the 2019 Lendlease Bradfield Urbanisation Scholar yesterday at the Bradfield Oration attended by the New South Wales Premier, the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, and more than 200 leaders of business, government and industry.
University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence AC thanked Lendlease for providing University of Sydney students the opportunity to gain real-world experience.
“We’re incredibly proud to be working with Lendlease on this scholarship, to be working with a partner that shares our confidence in the ability of young Australians and of young Sydneysiders,” said Dr Spence.
In congratulating James on his winning idea, he said, “It is a habit of ours to believe in the future. Mostly we believe in the future because we see the remarkable young people who are going to take this forward.”
Speaking with The Daily Telegraph editor at the Bradfield Oration, Ben English, James explained that for Sydney to become a truly global city, our lived experiences must be placed at the forefront of all we do.
“The key message behind my idea is we need to find all the benefits of urbanisation without the drawbacks,” said James.
“A great way to do this would be to create a sort of ‘superblock’ in which square sections of nine street blocks are grouped together to encourage more space for housing and public gardens for families.
“Small businesses including cafes, theatres, bars, and galleries will be located on the ground level and all parking is underground.”
James believes Sydney must offer a thriving live music culture, a modern and inventive food scene, and showpiece sport and entertainment spectacles. It also needs to ensure these things are accessible to all by being at the forefront of innovation in its engineering, architecture, transport and urban development.
His vision sees a transformation in living densities and the design and planning of low-rise apartments with central communal areas. More people per square kilometre means more opportunity for cultural experiences in the area. For this vision to be a success James says our public transport system must be revitalised and government policy needs to provide for individuals' lived experiences.
In awarding the scholarship and internship at Lendlease, Lendlease Head of Corporate Affairs, Luisa Megale said James’s vision was testament to his curiosity and deep perseverance.
Having worked with previous years’ finalists, Ms Megale said the scholarship offered students “a practical insight into the big problems,” and allowed them to discover that well planned cities can be “the greatest examples of human endeavour.”
The scholarship was generously donated by Lendlease and established in honour of John Bradfield, who designed Sydney's most transformative pieces of infrastructure, the underground electric railway and the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge to unite the northern and southern shores of our city.