Sydney is growing rapidly.
SYDNEY is transitioning from a family-oriented housing suburbs into an urban high-rise lifestyle city with strong international credentials.
For many years the accompanying activity has been the construction of high-rise apartments along major car and train transportation routes.
But now much of the development push is heading well into the increasingly congested side streets, much of it villa and low rise development.
There is a growing sense across Sydney that we are at a tipping-point — that the liveability and functionality of our oldest suburbs are being irreversibly eroded.
Sydney has long been admired because it is energetic, welcoming, innovative and diverse.
But it has become increasingly apparent — first to the locals then perhaps to planners and the politicians — that the community stakeholders need to be consulted better to address emerging social, economic and environmental challenges.
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Community stakeholders need to be consulted to deal with challenges.
The scope and complexity of the challenges of growth require a reconfiguration of the collective understanding of our cities.
This response requires a co-ordinated approach which can’t be just left to individual jurisdictions alone.
Local councils, the state government and federal government sadly have a gaping disconnect when it comes to tackling congestion, affordability and liveability issues.
We require overarching leadership to shape the future liveability of Sydney in a world where globalisation is the new norm.
Local government is the critical partner in local planning — and the major player in the integrated planning, funding and delivery of local infrastructure, and the rezoning and assessment of development proposals.
Responsibility for infrastructure, employment planning and service delivery generally rests with Macquarie Street.
The more distant federal government is not primarily accountable for the planning and performance of Sydney, but certainly influences the conditions and environments for many residents across Sydney.
The tendency of migrants to settle in Sydney, and place pressure on the city, has become a red hot topic.
President of the Australian Local Government Association Mayor David O’Loughlin. Picture: Mathew Farrell.
Councils see the issues first hand but don’t have the powers to resolve them, the Australian Local Government Association president David O’Loughlin recently said.
Better planning is needed to build more sustainable communities, to facilitate economic development and connectivity, and to improve the choices available for where and how people live, work and spend their leisure time.
Australian cities often rank highly in international liveability indexes, but there are emerging trends that need to be addressed to ensure our cities’ reputation for liveability and amenity is maintained and enhanced.
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Greater Sydney is Australia’s global city; an economic powerhouse of 4.7 million people, endowed with the natural beauty of Sydney Harbour, bushland, beaches and the Blue Mountains.
The population of Greater Sydney is projected to grow to eight million over the next 40 years, with almost half of that population residing west of Parramatta.
In Greater Sydney, medium and higher-density dwellings currently represent around 44 per cent of stock, much higher than other cities including Greater Melbourne which sits at 33 per cent.
More than 80 per cent of the new apartments being built in Sydney have just one or two bedrooms.
In the next two decades, 725,000 new homes will likely be needed in Greater Sydney to accommodate a growing and ageing population, according to the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA).
The PIA’s call for a national settlement strategy has recently been endorsed by a report from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities, entitled Building Up and Moving Out.
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