A resilient and equitable urban structure

The current rate of accelerated and far-reaching change has the potential to exacerbate inequalities in cities. This presents a challenge to city planning and raises the question whether Greater Sydney’s current planning framework is fit-for-purpose.

The Greater Sydney Region Plan aims to address inequality so that “targeted growth and investment can rebalance and improve opportunities for all who live in Greater Sydney.” The Region Plan emphasises the importance of city-shaping infrastructure to overcome this inequality by shaping three cities where people can access jobs and services within 30 minutes of where they live. Infrastructure investments respond to areas of high population growth and the need to connect people to jobs, particularly across existing and emerging centres. Land use frameworks complement this through balancing greenfield and urban renewal development and by protecting and optimising important assets that support the functioning of the Greater Sydney, such as the spread of industrial lands.

Addressing local impacts

Given the impacts of COVID-19 are unequally distributed and have the potential to reinforce existing socio-spatial inequality, the existing three cities regional planning framework is well-suited to supporting recovery. At the same time, as the pandemic is a once-in-a-generation event it will challenge how we think about land use and infrastructure and how we optimise the city’s valuable assets for recovery.

The vision for a metropolis of three cities recognises that targeted growth and investment can rebalance and improve opportunities for all who live in Greater Sydney by aligning infrastructure and growth to restructure economic activity and access across the three connected cities:

  • the established Eastern Harbour City – building on its recognised economic strength and global networks
  • the developing Central River City – investing in a wide variety of infrastructure and services and improving amenity
  • the emerging Western Parkland City – developing the Aerotropolis, the emerging new city to ensure high quality jobs close to home.

Three cities, each with supporting metropolitan and strategic centres, will put workers closer to knowledge-intensive jobs, city-scale infrastructure and services, entertainment and cultural facilities. The Region Plan also retains and manages industrial land close to centres and transport to ensure critical services and local supply chains are available to support businesses and residents. Green infrastructure such as urban tree canopy, green ground cover, bushland, waterways, parks and open spaces is valued for its economic, social and environmental benefits.

Focus Area 7 - A metropolis of three connected cities supports local outcomes
Greater Sydney’s urban structure and the existing strategic planning framework are robust and well-suited to support recovery and resilience. The vision of a metropolis of three 30-minute cities is designed to rebalance and grow economic and social opportunities. The focus is to refine and accelerate its implementation within the context of COVID-19 and recovery.