Much research exists on organisational culture. Many mergers and acquisitions fail because culture is ignored as a factor in planning and implementation. Organisational change is more challenging and emotional when it affects culture. Cultural change goes to the core of shared beliefs and
values and breaking these creates more resistance than any other type of change. These organisational principles are applicable to the city. The importance of culture in the urban context is discussed in Charles Landry’s book 'Creative City’. Landry considers the cultural resources the raw material of the city. These raw materials are ‘embodied in peoples’ skills and talents’. He states that culture in a city can strengthen social cohesion, inter-cultural understanding and empower communities to action.
Wollongong has experienced cultural change, but also resistance, for several decades; for instance the changing population with more affluent Sydneysiders merging with long-term residents; the city’s historically working class culture changing to the service and creative class; and the changing political scene from labour heartland to a mixed influence. Despite this change our city has a long way to go. To use Landry’s metaphor, a city is not a machine, but an organism, a body. Consider the ‘bones equivalent to the topography; the arteries equivalent to roads, rail and paths; the intestines to water services; the nervous system to communication and electricity’; and our deep rooted ethnic make-up to a city’s culture. People have a responsibility to take care of their bodies, their health, their well-being, and their spirituality. Just as people (and organisations) must take the lead looking after themselves, a city needs good leaders to look after its health, well-being and culture. The City of Wollongong has new leaders with a big responsibility and the juggling of many demands. Among these are
Wollongong’s stretched topography with a beautiful environment, our sick urban design, and the divide in our city’s culture between the north and the south, between the working class and the creative class, and between culturally and linguistically diverse people and the Anglo-Celtic population. For this city to move forward our new Council must take Wollongong’s culture into consideration and work for active change to breach the division towards social cohesion.