Sydney’s increased population growth needs a diversity of housing

Sydney’s increased population growth needs a diversity of housing
Sydney’s increased population growth needs a diversity of housing


The announcement by NSW Planning Minister, Rob Stokes, that Sydney’s population is growing faster than expected means a diversity of housing types is needed.

Sydney’s housing supply is already 6,000 less than required annually, so an extra 3,000 a year will need a rethink of the planning system.

While the state government sets policy it is at the local council level that housing approvals are being held up so reform is needed here.

One solution is for the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) to establish a planning centre of excellence in each of its six districts. The District Commissioner would work with a District Chief Planner to process applications over $20 million and drive strategic planning outcomes.

Minister Stokes in media coverage on the need for increased housing supply said he preferred a Barcelona mid-rise urban form to a Shanghai high rise form. It is unfortunate that the government is seeing Sydney’s future focussed on European old city models and rejecting the emerging energy of Asian cities. Shanghai, like most cities, has a mix of high rise, medium rise and low rise buildings and Sydney needs a similar diversity of housing types.

The Urban Taskforce supports a diversity of built form solutions to our housing needs. This will include high rise close to railway stations and town centres surrounded by mid-rise buildings.

Sydney can learn from the booming cities of Asia including Shanghai where planning authorities have ensured infrastructure is provided to support the growing population with very fast trains, extensive metro systems, mixed-use cosmopolitan zoning and a focus on global jobs. It is too easy to typify Shanghai through images of the high rise in Pudong without understanding the broader city structure. In the same way the Sydney CBD skyscrapers do not sum up the overall built form of Sydney.

Chris Johnson is chief executive officer of property development industry group Urban Taskforce and can be contacted here.

Sydney Property market

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