What is OpenForum?

Open Forum is an independent collaborative think-tank built around an interactive discussion website hosted and moderated by Global Access Partners (GAP). It provides a platform for focused dialogue on social, political, economic, ecological and cultural issues and challenges.

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TEDx Sydney 2014 logo

The Sydney Opera House will again be the home for TEDx Sydney on Saturday, 26 April. TED is a not-for-profit enterprise that aims to broadcast ‘ideas worth spreading’ and invites the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes.


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You imagine what you desire


19th Biennale of Sydney

From the 21 March to 9 June the Biennale of Sydney presents Australiaʼs largest contemporary visual arts event. Held every two years, the Biennale has this time gathered more than 85 artists from 28 countries, with an accompanying program of artist talks, forums, guided tours and family days.


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Explore the show


Royal Easter Show 2014 logo

The Sydney Royal Easter Show is running from 10 to 23 April 2014. It celebrates Australian culture, from rural traditions to modern day lifestyles. It is Australia’s largest annual event, attracting close to 900,000 people each year.


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Blog of the Day

Mark Liebmans picture

Eliminating waste and creating sustainable urban agglomerations


posted by Mark Liebman, Apr 24, 2014

Mimicking natural ecosystems can turn unsustainable towns into sustainable bioregions. Mark Liebman suggests a planning system that is beneficial for both the land users and the ecosystem inhabitants.

Evolution is an amazing phenomenon. It has been occurring from the day life appeared on Earth producing an array of ecosystems as a result of continuous improvement. Ecosystems should then provide a fantastic model on which to base the systems we use to organise our lives. 

Indeed there is a growing awareness of the benefits of biomimicry. Among them is the understanding that we can model a multitude of systems on nature. Natural systems are dynamic, adaptive, highly productive and sustainable. They don’t require fossil fuel input and use only solar input (in one form or another) as the main energy driver. Natural systems are also supremely efficient in that they waste almost nothing.

The question then arises: Can we design and plan our urban agglomerations so that they mimic natural ecosystems and accrue the same benefits, and what do we need to do to allow this to happen?


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Featured Forum

Urban Planning


Australia needs a vision for its urban spaces. As our population grows and demographic changes, we need a sound strategy to ensure the sustainable future of our urban landscape. The pressure on our roads, on public transport and energy systems is intensifying. Infrastructures will have to be able to cope with the increasing demand.

In our featured forum on Urban Planning we will look at the organisation and design of our urban surroundings. How can we make sure that our public spaces accommodate the needs of our communities? How can we improve urban planning to ensure our cities are environmentally sustainable?

We aim to introduce diverse neighbourhoods and consider the practical versus the aesthetic needs of urban design. What are the challenges, where are solutions for our public transport system? We will inspect the Australian property market – the very essence of every Australian dinner party conversation.

If we want to preserve our urban heritage for future generations, we need to work together with directly affected community groups and experts alike. We intend to give a voice to both in this featured forum.

Does any of these topics inspire you, or is there another aspect that you think is vital for the debate? Please contact Svetlana at sstankovic@openforum.com.au to share your story, opinion or ideas.


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