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.
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 Western City District has large tracts of bushland, scenic hills, floodplains, gorges, rivers and major waterways set amongst urban neighbourhoods, farmland, rural towns and villages. The District is the hottest and driest part of Greater Sydney and its population will grow significantly over the next 40 years.
Maintaining and improving the health of the Hawkesbury-Nepean and Georges rivers and South Creek as natural, cultural and recreational assets also contributes to cooling the environment and provides habitat for aquatic ecosystems. As the South Creek corridor is developed, the creek and its tributaries will form the defining structural elements of the new Western Parkland City, its centres and its neighbourhoods.
Western Sydney City Deal Commitments: Liveability and environment
Amenity and liveability across the Western Parkland City
- Western Parkland City Liveability Program
Protect and preserve environmental assets and parkland character
- Centre of Innovation in Plant Sciences
- Restore and protect South Creek
Streamlined environmental approvals
- Strategic assessment under the EPBC Act
Improve community health
- Western Sydney Health Alliance
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 District’s extensive rural areas include farmland and mineral resources which supply fresh local produce and construction materials. Its bushland provides habitat for local wildlife and offset sites for biodiversity. Collectively the District’s rural areas and Protected Natural Areas provide significant green space for Greater Sydney, particularly in the Wollondilly, Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury local government areas.
As the Western 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 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 bushfire, flooding, storms and heatwaves. 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 District, an integrated approach to improving sustainability can be achieved by the following Planning Priorities:
W12. Protecting and improving the health and enjoyment of the District’s waterways
W13. Creating a Parkland City urban structure and identity, with South Creek as a defining spatial element
W14. Protecting and enhancing bushland and biodiversity
W15. Increasing urban tree canopy cover and delivering Green Grid connections
W16. Protecting and enhancing scenic and cultural landscapes
W17. Better managing rural areas
W18. Delivering high quality open space
W19. Reducing carbon emissions and managing energy, water and waste efficiently
W20. 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.