In 2056, Sydney will be divided into three-interconnected cities, housing 8 million locals, most of whom will be within a 30-minute commute to jobs and services – according to a new city plan unveiled by the Greater Sydney Commission.
The ‘Draft Greater Sydney Region Plan 2017’, announced by Lucy Turnbull, head of the Commission, is designed to address the growing population particularly in Sydney’s west.
“Reshaping Greater Sydney as a metropolis of three cities will rebalance it, fostering jobs, improving housing choice and affordability, easing congestion and enhancing our enviable natural environment across the entire region,” Ms Turnbull said.
The 3 cities include a harbour-side city in the east (which encompasses the current CBD), a central river city around Parramatta; and a new parkland city west of the M7, in and around the new Badgerys Creek airport.
Source: Future Transport
The plan comes off the back of a cooling Sydney residential market, as auction rates continue to slide.
“The Draft Great Sydney Region Plan allows Sydney to grow sustainably while splitting up job centres across the three cities. This will take pressure off mass transit infrastructure and should cut travel times and create a better lifestyle for Sydneysiders,” said Ironfish National Housing Manager, Josh Ure.
“While Sydney is coming off this peak of the property cycle, it’s encouraging to see government take a proactive approach to the city’s future and long-term vision. Greater Melbourne is a fantastic example of urban planning creating a more affordable property market for residents. We hope this plan will do the same for Sydney over the long-term as we do not believe that housing affordability can be fixed overnight.”
The plan, which is complemented by a dedicated transport strategy, will enable two thirds of local residents to commute between their jobs, home and key services within 30 minutes.
Currently, only 39 per cent of Sydney’s population can access jobs and services from their homes within 30 minutes.
“Never before has planning and transport come together to actually map out a 40-year vision to make sure we grow properly in the future,” said Transport Minister Andrew Constance. “The three cities will each have improved transport facilities and will be interlinked through a technology-focused plan.”
The minister singled out for future investigation a train link between Parramatta and Kogarah, which would eliminate the need to travel via the Sydney CBD. A future plan to link Norwest and Parramatta by train was also alluded to.
Sydney’s heartland shifts west
Greater Sydney’s population is forecast to grow to 8 million in 2056, with most of the growth taking place in the west.
“If current trends continue, by 2036 over 50 per cent of Sydney’s population will live west of Parramatta,” Ms Turnbull said.
While the eastern city will still be the economic powerhouse, the west offers two key focus areas for development according to the plan.
“Referred to as the Central City in our three cities model, the Greater Parramatta area is at a critical moment in history – the stars are aligning with total investment from the public and private sectors of over $10 billion over the next five years,” said Ms Turnbull.
The Western City involves the creation of an “aerotropolis” – high-density commercial and residential development – around the planned Badgerys Creek area and the existing areas of Camden, Campbelltown, Liverpool and Penrith.
“This is particularly exciting for Sydney’s west, with an entirely new city to emerge west of the M7, where the new Western Sydney Airport and Badgery’s Creek Aerotropolis will support tens of thousands of jobs,” said Ms Turnbull.
“Penrith, Liverpool and Campbelltown will become university towns, which means even greater opportunity for young people growing up in the West.”
New medium density focus
The plan states that by 2056, Sydney’s three “cities” will require an additional 725,000 dwellings, added at a rate of 36,250 a year, to accommodate sustained population growth.
Source: Greater Sydney Commission
To tackle the key issues of housing affordability, and the changing demographics in the west, greater housing choice will be required.
“Medium density housing which includes villas and town houses within existing areas can provide greater housing variety while maintaining the local appeal and amenity of an area,” the plan notes.
Five-year housing targets:
- Eastern City district: 46,550 new dwellings, including 18,300 in the City of Sydney and 5900 in the Inner West
- Central City district: 53,500 new dwelling, including 21,650 in Parramatta
- Western City district: 39,850 new dwellings, including 11,800 in Camden
- North district: 25,950 new dwellings, including 7600 in Ryde
- South district: 23,250 new dwellings, including 13,250 in Canterbury-Bankstown
The Greater Sydney Commission is an independent organisation funded by the NSW government, which coordinates and aligns the planning that will shape the future of Greater Sydney.
Lucy Turnbull noted that the plan was not government policy, however, it was developed in collaboration with a range of state agencies and councils “so that the delivery of new housing and jobs can be supported by transport and local infrastructure.”