Greater Sydney Commissioner Lucy Turnbull yesterday launched the Draft Greater Sydney Region Plan 2017, an ambitious vision for a tripartite Sydney that could see two-thirds of residents able to commute between their homes, jobs and key services in under 30 minutes by the year 2056. The three cities would include an emerging area west of the M7 (which will, by then, be home to the new Western Sydney Airport, which is expected to open in 2026), a central river city surrounding Parramatta and an eastern harbour city that incorporates the current Sydney CBD.
Of course, more urban infrastructure requires a public transport system that's reliable and able to handle an infinite increase in patronage. The plans for this revamped Sydney were launched alongside a long-term transport strategy, NSW's Future Transport 2056, in a cross-government collaboration designed to align land use planning with the future growth of transport services and networks.
"Reshaping Greater Sydney as a metropolis of three cities — Eastern, Central and Western — will rebalance it, fostering jobs, improving housing affordability, easing congestion and enhancing our enviable natural environment across the entire region," Turnbull said in a press release.
The population of Sydney is expected to bump from its current 4.6 million to six million within the next two decades, reaching eight million by 2056. It's thought Sydney's west will see the majority of this growth, with more than half of the city's residents expected to be living west of Parramatta by 2036. The three-city plan could certainly alleviate the bottleneck that commuters currently face when travelling to and from the current CBD, but depends entirely on the transport available to travel within and between the cities, as well as away from them — at the moment there is no planned train line to the new Badgerys Creek airport. And will Sydney be able to cope with steady population growth in the meantime? 2056 is still another 40 years away.
The draft Greater Sydney Region Plan is on exhibition until December 15. Read it and offer your feedback here.