Four subsequent plans – Sydney into its Third Century (1988), Cities for the 21st Century (1995), City of Cities (2005) and A Plan for a Growing Sydney (2014), differed from the earlier plans by focusing on economic issues, as well as the physical form of growing a polycentric city and urban renewal.
The 1988 Plan was designed in collaboration with a transport strategy and was the first to recommend higher development densities in established and greenfield areas, a policy that continues to evolve, and saw development densities in greenfield areas increase from eight lots per hectare in 1988 to close to 20 lots per hectare today.
The 1988 plan included a new airport in Greater Sydney’s West, reinstated in the 2014 plan, and was the first to introduce sub-regional (district) planning together with a strong focus on urban design. The 2005 and 2014 plans continued to refine the framework of Greater Sydney as a series of sub-regions and promote the role of centres across Greater Sydney.
Greater Sydney’s present
Greater Sydney’s most pressing challenge today is to address population growth and demographic change, while improving liveability.
For most of the 20th century, Greater Sydney’s population grew at an annual rate of around 2.5 per cent (refer to Figure 4).
Today, Greater Sydney is one of the top 10 fastest-growing regions in the Western world and by 2036 is projected to be home to another 1.7 million people, or 3.2 million more people by 2056.
Greater Sydney’s footprint has grown not only through an increasing population, but a decline in dwelling occupancy rates; down from 5.24 and 6.08 people per dwelling in 1909 (depending on whether the resident lived in the suburbs or the city) to an average of 2.8 in 2016.
Density has declined from 13 people per hectare in 1909 to an average of 4.25 people per hectare across Greater Sydney. While there are 31 people per hectare in the Eastern Harbour City, this is low compared to an average density of 109 per hectare across New York City (the five boroughs).