Tertiary Education STEMs take root in Western Sydney - the ‘Maker Space’ of Greater Sydney?

Liverpool Health and Academic Precinct.
Liverpool Health and Academic Precinct.

Western Sydney has recently experienced a wave of major announcements within the tertiary education sector, including a new education campus as part of the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.

The Greater Sydney Commission announced a Statement of Intent with the Vice-Chancellors of four leading NSW universities to co-anchor the STEM-focused tertiary education campus.

Tertiary Education STEMs take root in Western Sydney - the ‘Maker Space’ of Greater Sydney?
Sydney Science Park, currently under construction, shows what the new combined university campus may look like. Source: Celestino

STEM or ‘Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths’ intends to provide the region with more specialist skills and industries, including aerospace, advanced manufacturing, and agribusiness. This complements the emphasis on jobs, education, and technology around the new Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek.

This will go some way to balancing education and employment opportunities away from Eastern Sydney and deliver them to the region’s rapidly growing population - which currently hosts only 16% of university places in Greater Sydney.

The four universities involved in the deal are the Universities of Wollongong, Newcastle, Western Sydney, and UNSW, which together will offer access to cutting-edge industry research, development and employment opportunities.

The first phase of the new campus is expected to be completed in 2026 coinciding with the opening of the nearby 24 hr airport, as well as the initial Aerotropolis social, employment, and housing hubs.

The Aerotropolis is turning out to be a transformative catalyst for the Western Sydney region. According to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, more than 250 local and international businesses are seeking to secure a place within the 10,000-hectare greenfield Aerotropolis site around the new airport.

To frame these developments, it’s as if the Aerotropolis is a massive ‘maker space’ for the Sydney region, with skills, research, knowledge and facilities on hand to test and develop advanced research ideas and manufacturing processes. 

To underscore the extent of development activated by these developments, around the Aerotropolis, two projects - each multi-billion-dollar investments - are under construction including the Sydney World Trade Centre and Sydney Science Park - read more here and here.  

Tertiary Education Growing Across Western Sydney

The wider Western Sydney region is responding eagerly to the re-conceptualisation of Sydney as a city of three, thirty-minute cities

Here’s a summary of recent announcements covering the tertiary education sector in Western Sydney city centres. Note - Parramatta is not on this list as it is located within the 'Central River City' and is a step above these other regional centres - it is becoming a true metropolitan centre. 

BANKSTOWN

There is a 16-storey, 15,000sqm vertical campus under construction in Bankstown adjacent to the regional library for Western Sydney University, providing space for approximately 5,000 students.

WSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Barney Glover has stated that providing education facilities in CBDs close to transport is crucial to meeting expectations. In fact, WSU is considering closing their isolated suburban campus at Milperra and shifting its functions to Bankstown, Liverpool and Parramatta. 

Tertiary Education STEMs take root in Western Sydney - the ‘Maker Space’ of Greater Sydney?
WSU Liverpool vertical campus. Source: WSU

To enhance this new facility, Bankstown-Lidcombe hospital may be moved into Bankstown City Centre to take advantage of the clustering synergies of knowledge-intensive industries.

Bankstown is also of course in line to anchor the south-western terminus of Sydney Metro Line 1, with an extension to Liverpool being considered in the medium-term.

LIVERPOOL

Tertiary Education STEMs take root in Western Sydney - the ‘Maker Space’ of Greater Sydney?
Liverpool’s mooted $740 million Health and Academic Precinct. Source: SMH

The Liverpool Innovation Precinct Committee - which includes representatives from UNSW, Uni of Wollongong, and WSU - are part of the consortium that has proposed the $740 million Health and Academic Precinct around Liverpool Hospital.

These three universities already have embedded campuses in the precinct - by 2026, the health, research and education precinct will have a combined 30,000 jobs.

Nearby, WSU recently opened their Liverpool vertical campus, also the location of WSU’s business start-up incubator “Launch Pad”.

This complements the recent rezoning of large parts of Liverpool CBD for higher density development, which you can read more about here

BLACKTOWN

Blacktown City Council recently announced they were seeking expressions of interest for a tertiary education institution to anchor a vertical campus within the council’s Warrick Lane development, currently in early planning. This is part of the council’s long-term Blacktown City Centre vision to reinvigorate the city centre of this 360,000 people-strong council area.

Tertiary Education STEMs take root in Western Sydney - the ‘Maker Space’ of Greater Sydney?
Conceptual rendering of the Warrick Lane development in Blacktown City Centre - the council is seeking a tertiary institution to anchor a vertical campus on the site. Source: Blacktown City Council

Western Sydney is embracing its reinvigorated place in Greater Sydney’s strategic planning picture, bringing new opportunities closer to the region’s growing communities, and re-balancing Sydney away from its eastern bias.

Tags: 
Western Sydney Western Sydney Aerotropolis Education

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