Sydney to be split three-ways by 2056

Sydney to be split three-ways by 2056

27 October 2017

Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) chief commissioner Lucy Turnbull has formerly unveiled an ambitious plan to radically reshape the metropolis into three centres with most residents no more than 30 minutes away from their work and other public services, reports the AFR.

The draft Greater Sydney Region Plan was launched for public comment this week together with Transport for NSW’s Future Transport 2056, a plan that outlines how the goal of 70 per cent of residents being within 30 minutes of work, study and entertainment can be achieved.

The plan outlines a 40-year vision that aims to encourage residents and businesses to organise themselves around one of three specialised precincts: the Sydney CBD, Parramatta and Badgerys Creek, the future site of Sydney’s second airport.

While not yet government policy, the plan represents the most ambitious attempt to reshape one of Australia’s two emerging megacities and the commission hopes it will act as a blueprint for the future of Sydney.

“It’s time to start planning for our land use, for our liveability, for the schools, for all the social places and systems that build a great city,” said Ms Turnbull.

The 170-page document does not address how the plan will be funded nor will the state government commit to a train link to the city’s second major airport in western Sydney.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the plans have already generated criticism.

Opposition planning spokesman Michael Daley seized on the lack of granular detail in the plans, criticising the twin strategies as “600 pages of photos and gloss and blur”.  

“It’s no wonder the government wants to talk about what is happening decades into the future because what’s happening in Sydney and NSW today is a mess. We’ve got a government that’s been in power now for seven years and they’ve not cut a ribbon on a single infrastructure project yet,” Mr Daley said.

According to The Fifth Estate, the plan was generally welcomed by development bodies, think tanks, and affordable housing advocates, but has had a cooler reception from community planning advocates.

Committee for Sydney head Tim Williams called the plan a “thorough and detailed blueprint” and “an example of exemplary cross-government coordination that should be the benchmark for other Australian cities.”

The Property Council labelled the plan “a more nuanced approach to future planning”, while the lobby Urban Taskforce also said it was a good plan.

However, some Liberal Party MPs are concerned about the densities proposed in their local areas, which many are afraid could claim their scalps.

The NSW head of the Urban Development Institute of Australia, Steve Mann, also expressed concerned that new taxes and charges on housing to fund infrastructure would increase the cost of housing.

In what the AFR calls a timely follow to the three-city plan, Malaysian developer Mulpha has announced a $3 billion transformation of one of Sydney’s largest business parks, Norwest, into a “smart city” with affordable apartments.

The Norwest masterplan, to be rolled out over the next 10 years, was inspired by Sydney’s shifting axis towards the west and the heavy infrastructure spending in the area. This includes the $8 billion Sydney Metro Northwest that will run through the masterplan, and its location between current CBD and the future second airport at Badgerys Creek.

The draft Greater Sydney Region Plan and Future Transport Strategy are on exhibition until 15 December.

You can read the reports here.

Image source: