For Greater Sydney, these impacts have come on the back of bushfires, drought and storms that brought impacts from poor air quality to water restrictions. Some residents have faced significant damage to their homes, health and quality of life. Physical and mental health and wellbeing has been affected as residents respond to four extraordinary challenges.
The NSW and Australian Governments are implementing various policy responses to support people and the economic health of Greater Sydney. While restrictions from the pandemic have eased and Greater Sydney has transitioned into a city with physical distancing and other preventative health measures in place, the changes and impacts continue.
The Commission is working with stakeholders across government to gather and interpret data to understand the impacts and to gauge the challenges and opportunities in all aspects of Greater Sydney’s liveability, productivity and sustainability.
2.1 City-shaping impacts of COVID-19
In October 2020, the Commission released a report, City-shaping impacts of COVID-19 – Towards a resilient Greater Sydney.
The report analysed the first six months of available data to describe the early impacts of the pandemic on Greater Sydney and identified nine critical focus areas of city-shaping that we believe will be fundamental to recovery and resilience:
1. Community wellbeing is essential to resilience
2. Rapid recalibration of jobs and productivity through training and skills and developing specialised precincts is critical to economic recovery
3. Changes to where we work are revitalising some centres and may influence where we choose to live
4. Changes to where and when we work, study and shop alter demand for transport services and freight logistics
5. Digital technology is vital infrastructure and universal access is needed
6. Investment in open, public and shared spaces connects communities and supports healthy lifestyles
7. A metropolis of three connected cities supports local outcomes
8. Collaboration and evidence are central to responsive and efficient government
9. Scenario planning provides for adaptive management and agile responses.