What is density done well

22 March 2016

Across the world, the population of major global cities is increasing in a way that it’s no longer possible to continue to grow outwards. The ‘Urban sprawl’ can have high social, economic and environmental costs. Instead cities are moving towards greater concentrations of people living in areas close to public transit, jobs and services. The challenge of course is to ensure that the combination of great design and provision of services and infrastructure work in a way to make great places.

The transformation of the Central to Eveleigh area will bring significant numbers of new homes and places to work to the area. This requires low, medium and high rise apartments and commercial buildings – together with great public transport, new services and new public places.

We are planning for this transformation through integrated transport and urban planning – aiming to create places where we can live with very low need for a car.We use population scenarios with low, medium and high ranges to work with government service providers of health and education, for example to test what existing services can accommodate, and where additional services are needed.

We use studies to assess community infrastructure like electricity, water, green space and heritage assets against the same scenarios. We see where additional services like community facilities, parks and child care are required. We consult with the community along the way.This all feeds into our masterplans and strategies to create liveable, walkable neighbourhoods.

The quality of this density is important to the character of a city like Sydney - it is what makes it liveable, attractive, competitive and diverse. Density can have benefits including the opportunity to create new transport and social facilities which require a large number of people to be feasible. This brings demand for better public spaces and improved access to high quality community facilities and social services.

There are obvious trade-offs. While urban renewal brings improved community services, improved open spaces and transport infrastructure, these benefits are set against the imposition many will feel from taller buildings and more people. We need to consider and evaluate all these elements in our masterplanning through studies and assessments and will invite the community to have a say at each milestone.

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