A city for people
Increased walkable access to local centres
A growing Greater Sydney presents an opportunity to build social and cultural networks and to enhance individual and community health outcomes. Strategic planning will capitalise on local identity, heritage and cultural values, together with easier access to services to foster a more active, resilient and connected society. The changing demographics of neighbourhoods across Greater Sydney will influence local demand for social infrastructure.
The quality of life that residents enjoy in their neighbourhoods, work places and cities is central to liveability. Maintaining and improving liveability requires housing, infrastructure and services in the right locations to meet people’s needs and enable them to stay in their neighbourhoods and with their communities as they transition through different stages of life. Planning for people recognises that liveability not only contributes to productivity and sustainability, but is also an important influence on individual wellbeing and community cohesion.
A Metropolis of Three Cities will give people better access to housing, transport and employment as well as social, recreational, cultural and creative opportunities. Easier connections with family, friends and the broader community will assist people to fulfil their potential.
The population of Greater Sydney is 4.7 million and is projected to grow by 1.7 million people by 2036. This growth is driven by the natural increase of the existing population, and domestic and international migration.
Planning for the next 20 years involves providing services and infrastructure locally to meet the needs of the growing population (refer to Figure 10) and the changes to demographics. This includes health and education services and facilities, as well as accessible neighbourhoods and homes, for an increasing proportion of people over 65 years of age.
The 30-minute city aspiration will guide decisionmaking on locations for new jobs and housing and the prioritisation of transport, health, schools and social infrastructure investments. This will facilitate the co-location of infrastructure in metropolitan and strategic centres with direct public transport, so that people can access services and jobs.
The region’s Aboriginal communities, their histories and contemporary cultures, and connections to Country and community, make a valuable and continuing contribution to the region’s heritage, culture and identity.
Beginning with the first colonial settlement, many migrants and refugees have made Greater Sydney their home, and have also made significant contributions to a shared history and identity.
Greater Sydney is now home to a diversity of people from many cultures. This cultural diversity finds expression in events such as NAIDOC Week and Reconciliation Week, Parramasala Multicultural Festival in Parramatta, Multicultural Eid Festival and Fair in Fairfield, Haberfield Italian Festa and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
More than 250 languages are spoken across the region. Refer to Figure 13 for the top 10 non-English languages spoken at home.
Greater Sydney’s population growth and cultural diversity reflect the worldwide trend towards city living and the better access to services, resources, jobs and opportunities that this provides. Being an in-demand global city brings growth, which in turn brings opportunities to leverage the benefits of growth.
It also brings challenges. The biggest of these is housing affordability, which is a pressing social and economic issue across Greater Sydney. Housing affordability can affect job and lifestyle choices, and for some will determine whether they can live in Greater Sydney. Housing affordability is a primary focus of the Plan’s suite of measures to improve liveability.
The NSW Government has identified demand for 725,000 additional homes to meet the growing and changing population over the next 20 years. In recent years, Greater Sydney has seen strong increases in new housing which, for the first time in a decade is reaching the level of supply that is needed to support growth (refer to Figure 14).
Although parts of Greater Sydney have significant capacity to provide new dwellings, local market demand is a major factor in addressing housing supply. Research shows that the people of Greater Sydney have strong neighbourhood preferences. Over 80 per cent of household moves are less than 15 kilometres2.
The Plan sets out a process to deliver a steady pipeline of supply to meet forecast housing demand. Maintaining adequate supply to meet demand can help to address housing price growth and is one measure to improve housing affordability. Housing targets have been established, as a tool, to support the creation and delivery of housing supply for the short, medium and longer terms.
A suite of measures that address housing affordability is included, with the implementation of Affordable Rental Housing Targets the focus of current initiatives.
Improving liveability involves the creation and renewal of great places, neighbourhoods and centres. This requires place-based planning and design excellence that builds on local characteristics. It also acknowledges the need for additional housing close to centres, recognising the centre’s primary role to support a community’s access to goods and services, and the need for the centre to grow and evolve over time.
Great places are walkable – they are designed, built and managed to encourage people of all ages and abilities to walk or cycle for leisure, transport or exercise. Fine grain urban form and land use mix at the heart of neighbourhoods enhances walkability and the vitality of cities and centres.
When services and infrastructure like schools, health, recreation, arts and sports are co-located at the heart of a neighbourhood designed for walking and cycling, they provide better opportunities for people to meet and develop strong ties. This can support people to be more active and socially connected and improve mental and physical health outcomes.
A Metropolis of Three Cities and Future Transport 2056 adopt a common approach to creating great places and better connecting within and between them (refer to Figure 11). Both recognise the dual function of streets as places for people and movement and how the prioritisation of transport movements, walking, cycling and social opportunity influences the function of streets and determines their character and identity.
Streets are a key element of the public realm. Peoplefriendly and safer streets with direct connections to cities and centres will promote walking, cycling and public transport use.
Design excellence for great places therefore starts with a public realm and open spaces that are safe and accessible.
Providing opportunities for people to participate in arts, cultural and heritage experiences inspires understanding of differences and innovation. Strengthening social connections within and between diverse peoples and cultures promotes resilience and collaborative responses to growth and change. Key to these outcomes are opportunities for participation in local sporting clubs and activities.
Each of the three cities requires different approaches to improving liveability outcomes.
The Western Parkland City is a mix of wellestablished suburban and rural communities, emerging neighbourhoods and new centres. In the Western City, improving liveability is about new great places, with well-connected communities which have access to a range of jobs and services.
Creating the best city into the future requires a place-based approach that starts with public places, open spaces and transit-oriented developments. The timely delivery of infrastructure to support new communities to develop social connections will bring vibrancy and activation and improve liveability.
The Central River City is transforming from a suburban to a more urban environment, with a mix of well-established and developing neighbourhoods along existing and new transit corridors. It is a focus for large improvements in transport, social and cultural infrastructure. Providing local infrastructure to support its transformation and developing fine grain urban form and land use mix are essential for improving liveability.
The Eastern Harbour City is a mature mix of wellestablished communities ranging from traditional suburban to Australia’s most highly urban neighbourhoods. Growth will bring urban renewal and infill development with an increased need for infrastructure and services. The quality of the public realm and access to open space and services are primary considerations for improving liveability.
Summary of Actions
The following metropolitan-wide Actions will deliver liveability objectives.
3. Prepare housing strategies (refer to Objective 10).
4. Develop 6–10 year housing targets (refer to Objective 10).
5. Implement Affordable Rental Housing Targets (refer to Objective 11).