Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sydney is Planning to Spread Out … Is It Sustainable?

by Paul Adkinson

Australians have followed the American dream: A 3 bedroom house, an SUV, a big backyard and 10 paces from the house to any other property to keep neighbours at bay. Our overgrown houses are now the largest among the world’s detached dwellings – and we pay the price. All of Australia’s major cities are in the top listed expensive cities of the world to live in, with Sydney ranking 7th in the world.
The cost of living in Sydney, however, is not limited to the price of a house. Sydney has the highest average commute time in Australia, at 4 hours and 48 minutes. But rather than encourage greater density around employment centres as the Metro Strategy suggests, local councils are fighting for what they believe their residents want and therefore should continue to have: wide, green streets with large front and back gardens and nothing above 2-3 storeys. Australians don’t have a front garden culture – we’re out the back with the kids or the barbecue, which means the remaining green space is purely for visual purposes. Those with children will be intimately aware of just how unsustainable this is, with many more now living with parents into their late 20s. But a willingness to change planning controls could deliver three times the housing we have in many of Sydney’s suburbs
Sydney’s North Shore offers fine examples of spacious, wasteful planning controls. Frenches forest is a planned major centre in the Metro Strategy and 12 km from the CBD.

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Collaroy beach near Sydney. Downtown Sydney is seen in the picture, by sebr
Sydney skyline, photo by Simon_sees

more about Sydney, Australia:

7 Ways to Improve Sydney’s E-Ticketing System

QUANTIFYING THE QUALITATIVE: an evaluation of urban ambience

Sydney Cycle Strategy: Building a Bicycle Friendly City

Skyline photos of Sydney, Australia 1

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