Walk with me | Starting Steptember with Deputy Lord Mayor, Jess Miller

Kicking off Steptember walking with Deputy Lord Mayor, Jess Miller was eye opening. Her knowledge of the local communities, projects and people in the areas we walked through was intrinsic.

Within 5 minutes of leaving Alexandria Park we passed the Pemulway Project, an affordable housing project owned by the Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) where that the money earned can be spent by the AHC for Aboriginal people.

We passed Anthony Mundane’s gym and one of Judith Nielsons galleries (she’s also the owner of the White Rabbit Art Gallery)

We passed by workshops where anyone is welcome to run one, the first purpose built house development (which is still in use), The Goods Line and an abundance of parks and street art, all making for an incredible 40 minute journey to work.

Street art around Sydney

What caught me about Deputy Lord Mayor Jess Miller, was her inherent passion for the communities within the city.

When asked why she walked to and from work each day, Jess replied with

When you’re a councillor, you have to learn the context of different places because you’re generally making a decision about them.

Walking is one of the most community minded things you can do. You get to stop in and check what’s going on.

2 million people live within 10km of Sydney CBD. The City of Sydney are trying to encourage people to realise how short a distance this really is. You may have noticed the signage popping up across the city highlighting the short distances between locations, encouraging people to get more active and ‘Give yourself a lift’.

Jess was passionate about planning cities that benefit people and the environment:

People are intrinsically connected to nature.

We have to wrap our head around biophilic cities.

Cities that are biophobic where you can’t grow anything, don’t have any parks or green spaces — they’re cities that people don’t want to live in, they’re not productive, they’re ugly and no-one wants to visit them.

Jess looked around Sydney and pointed out how much everything was competing for space. How the buildings were designed without a great appreciation of nature. And how every plant or tree is fighting for space and sunlight.

We have to design our cities to suit the people in them. Using the water, landscape, sun and the natural resources we have, to make cities that people want to live in, and welcome and entice people to walk around them.

Juxtaposition between a biophilic to biophobic building in Sydney CBD