Lucy Turnbull’s grand plan for Sydney

Sydney will be a metropolis of three distinct cities and will need 725,000 new properties as it grows to cope with a population of eight million by 2056, under the first long-term plan for our biggest city since the 1950s.

The plan by the Greater Sydney Commission, led by Lucy Turnbull, moves away from the CBD-centred Sydney idea to one in balanced across three economies – an Eastern City, from the Northern Beaches to Kogarah; a Central City centred around Parramatta and a Western City, including Liverpool and Greater Penrith.

“Together, we can reimagine our city,” said Ms Turnbull, the independent body’s chief commissioner.

“Our ambition is for Greater Sydney to be the kind of global city that is home to a mix and variety of places we want to live, work, study, play and visit – places that are close to those essentials like housing choices, smart jobs, great schools, healthcare, open spaces and facilities.”

The 40-year vision with 20-year district plans, Towards our Greater Sydney 2056, includes mandates on affordable housing in new areas, cycling and walking trails that connect different areas and with areas designed for collaboration between government and residents.

The plan groups the wider city under six different districts and pulls these districts into three separate cities that will make up the NSW capital as it grows from the current 4.7 million people to more than eight million.

The plan, to be released on Monday, will be open for consultation and will be finalised during the second half of 2017.

An economy focussed around three separate cities, each with its own strength, will create a distinct diversity of jobs – to counter a growing divide between those with access to employment and opportunities highlighted in the State of Australian Cities 2014-2015 report.

While the Eastern City is the established economic hub, the other two will emerge as complementary bases, making the so-called “30-minute city” a reality for more people other than those commuting to work from the established eastern and inner suburbs.

The Parramatta-based Central City will by 2036 be one of Greater Sydney’s administrative and business centres, with health and education centred around the Westmead precinct.
By 2056, the Western City will have developed as a hub for trade, logistics, advanced manufacturing, tourism, health, education and science, centred around the planned $2.7 billion Western Sydney Airport.

The commission also increases the predicted number of new homes the city will need. Its middle scenario of 725,000 new dwellings between 2016 and 2036 is a 9 per cent increase on the state government’s 2014 A Plan for Growing Sydney, due to increased population estimates.

The commission sets a target of between 5 per cent and 10 per cent target for affordable rental housing for low and very low income households in all new development in new urban renewal and greenfield areas.

Urban renewal corridors – along transport routes and in conjunction with transport infrastructure investment – were one option to combine new housing with high volume public transport services.

“The need for this additional capacity is greatest in the North and Central Districts,” the commission says.

“By early 2018, for the first time in many decades, our aim is that final land use, transport and infrastructure plans will be in synch to provide a strong platform for Greater Sydney,” commission chief executive Sarah Hill said.

AFR 21/11/2016 by Michael Bleby and Su-Lin Tan