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A Suburb Too Far? Urban Consolidation in Sydney

A Suburb Too Far? Urban Consolidation in Sydney

Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion.
Briefing Paper No. 04/2003 by Jackie Ohlin
The imperative for urban consolidation is the need to house people in more compact cities. In Australia and around the globe, proponents of consolidation have struggled against cultural and economic forces which have seen urbanisation lead to sprawl in our major cities.

It is now clear that environmental constraints upon the growth of Sydney, at the urban fringes will drive the need to seek more sustainable solutions to city growth. At the same time, social changes such as household size and structure and immigration trends will continue to have a strong impact on urban growth. Further, Sydney’s role as a Global City will exert its own pressures for ongoing growth.

If that growth is to be sustainable, it will inevitably include strategies of urban consolidation. Key to the success of these strategies will be:

  • achieving consensus upon targeted consolidation;
  • managing partnerships between government, community and industry that contribute positively to models of quality urban consolidation;
  • focusing policy outcomes upon ‘triple bottom line’ measures in environmental, economic and social terms; and
  • bringing it all together locally in such a way that trade-offs and benefits of urban consolidation are understood.

This paper explores these dimensions in some detail. It examines the potential for urban consolidation in Sydney, concentrated upon the heavy rail network. It also outlines the current interest in ‘smart growth’ as a strategy for managing the containment of urban sprawl and promoting urban consolidation within that process.