SYDNEY - A CHANGING CITY.
Words and Images by Phoebe Repeti
It’s hard being an adult in the city you grew up in. You don't realize how attached you are to your surroundings until they start to change. It's always hard to see things you love go, but when it turns into something terrifying, it becomes more than nostalgic longing.
In Sydney, change has become a torment. Everywhere you look something is being knocked down, built up, or sold off. It seems like destruction is at every corner, big contraptions protruding into the sky as a constant reminder of an unknown future.
Sydney is turning into a ghost of a once eccentric and free city. It is being broken and fragmented by powerful pollies, sitting in chairs, reading numbers and figures. Calculating the most monetary gain; deciding our fate.
It’s true that generations before us have had to face change. Life has always had to move forward and progress. But change that comes almost all at once, from all sides, is frightening.
Never before has Sydney undergone such a fundamental uprooting and restructuring. 30,000 developments were built in 2016 alone, with a trajectory of 184,000 over the next 5 years. A record high since the year 2000.
Policies and laws are increasingly cutting our freedoms, placing us with a sense of guilt for wanting better for ourselves, for wanting more from our education, more from our politicians, and more for our city. Policies and laws that have made us feel guilty for wanting a safe and vibrant nightlife, while at the same time building a massive casino on what used to be a sacred fishing ground for the traditional owners of our land.
We are living in a time where systems of power are becoming increasingly resistant from moving in a rational direction, and becoming irrevocably committed to their ignorant and outdated ideologies.
We are in time where the systems of power somehow thought it would be a good idea to put a massive tunnel in the middle of the city, creating a 30,000 car run off at each of the exits, including but not limited to; Alexandria, the Anzac Bridge, and St Peter’s.
A tunnel that needed the forced acquisition of thousands of homes, purchased under market value. A tunnel that has unprecedented environmental impacts by sustaining and encouraging a care dependent culture. Not to mention the massive financial oversight, with the budget blowing out over 45 billion dollars, almost double the original allocated budget for transport. Selling to private toll giant Transurban to cover the costs.
But the more disheartened we become with our state, the more we are pushed to find our own space and our own form of expression, as far away from the suffocating boundaries of mainstream polity.
Never before have I seen such motivated and talented people dedicated to expressing themselves, dedicated to make the city their own.
History always forgets through struggle there is resistance, and it’s profound.
People are still thriving, and living, when things seem to be going in the opposite direction. We have seen campaigns fighting through their teeth for community, young musicians prospering in small venues, and young entrepreneurs giving us much needed safe spaces to be move and let go.
It has only made us more innovative and accomplished.
Sydney is changing, but it’s not all bad.
Some is really quite wonderful.
Words and Photo by Phoebe Repeti