Improving sustainability will involve incorporating natural landscape features into the urban environment; protecting and managing natural systems; cooling the urban environment; innovative and efficient use and re-use of energy, water and waste resources; and building the resilience of communities to natural and urban hazards, shocks and stresses.
All aspects of sustainability rely on maintaining and managing green infrastructure. Green infrastructure is the network of green spaces, natural systems and semi-natural systems that support sustainable communities. Its connected elements are: waterways; urban bushland; urban tree canopy and green ground cover; parks and open spaces.
The parks and gardens, remnant bushland and tree-lined streets also attract and sustain the talent required for Greater Sydney to thrive as a global city. Optimising and protecting existing assets will be essential in ensuring the ongoing health and sustainability of the District.
The Central City District’s urban neighbourhoods are set amongst the wide-open spaces and waterways of the Cumberland Plain. Further north towards the Hawkesbury River, the Cumberland Plain gives way to more rugged ridges and valleys, where the District has large tracts of bushland, pockets of farmland and rural towns and villages. The Central City District is hotter and drier than the coastal parts of Greater Sydney and includes areas such as the Duck River corridor, the South Creek corridor and the Greater Parramatta and the Olympic Peninsula (GPOP), which will grow and change significantly over the next 40 years.
Maintaining and improving the health of the Parramatta and Hawkesbury-Nepean rivers and their tributaries as natural, cultural and recreational assets also contribute to cooling the environment and provide habitat for aquatic ecosystems.
The Greater Sydney Green Grid – the regional network of high quality green spaces and tree-lined streets that supports walking, cycling and community access to open spaces – will provide cool, green links throughout the District. Expansion of the urban tree canopy will complement the Green Grid and support the cooling of neighbourhoods. The planning and design of new communities create opportunities to enhance the District’s urban tree canopy.
The District’s extensive rural areas include farmland that supplies fresh local produce and mineral resources providing construction materials. Its bushland provides habitat for wildlife and offset sites for biodiversity.
As the Central City District grows, improvements in the way buildings and precincts are planned and designed, and the way water and energy infrastructure is delivered, can support the more efficient use of resources and lower carbon emissions. The management of waste will present both an environmental challenge and an economic opportunity. New approaches to how waste materials and resources are re-used within a circular economy will help reduce impacts on the environment.
The District’s climate and natural landscape can create natural hazards such as heatwaves, bushfire, flooding and storms. Natural and urban hazards will be exacerbated by climate change. Supporting actions that mitigate climate change, and actions that assist communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change, will be important.
For the Central City District an integrated approach to improving sustainability can be achieved by the following Planning Priorities:
C13. Protecting and improving the health and enjoyment of the District’s waterways
C14. Creating a Parkland City urban structure and identity, with South Creek as a defining spatial element
C15. Protecting and enhancing bushland, biodiversity and scenic and cultural landscapes
C16. Increasing urban tree canopy cover and delivering Green Grid connections
C17. Delivering high quality open space C18. Better managing rural areas
C19. Reducing carbon emissions and managing energy, water and waste efficiently
C20. Adapting to the impacts of urban and natural hazards and climate change.
Green infrastructure and greener places
Green infrastructure is fundamental to creating a high quality of life and is important in creating a region that is climate resilient and adaptable to future needs. The NSW Government’s draft green infrastructure policy Greener Places: Establishing an urban green infrastructure policy for New South Wales was produced by the Government Architect NSW to guide the planning, design and delivery of green infrastructure. The draft policy also highlights the role of green roofs and walls, private and semi-private residential gardens and agricultural land that complement green infrastructure and help support more sustainable places. The draft policy is based on a green infrastructure framework which has key components:
- Bushland and Waterways – delivering green infrastructure for habitat and ecological health
- The Urban Tree Canopy – delivering green infrastructure for climate change adaptation and resilience
- Parks and Open Space – delivering green infrastructure for people.