Sydney's Controversial Plan For Density

The state government's plan to build new housing to accommodate anticipated population growth is being pushed over the heads of local officials who contend they had little say in the growth targets.

"Tens of thousands of new homes will be forced upon traffic-choked Sydney suburbs under a State Government plan that councils have condemned as being unrealistic and shrouded in secrecy."

"One year after the Premier, Morris Iemma, unveiled the blueprint for Sydney's population growth, several councils say they have no idea how the Government came up with their preliminary housing targets.

They say they will be forced to erect scores of high-rise apartment blocks that will drastically alter the face of their neighbourhoods, and have expressed bewilderment at the lack of transport planning."

Thanks to Hugh Pavletich

Full Story: Revealed: the Sydney flats squeeze



NIMBYism In Sydney

Most of the article speaks in generalities about "high-rise apartment blocks" being forced on "densely populated suburbs."

Toward the end, it briefly becomes more specific: "A spokeswoman for Bankstown said that to fit in 26,000 extra homes the council would have to start cramming eight-storey residential towers into suburban centres, 'which will ruin the character of the area.'"

If the suburbanite's scare tactic is to talk about eight-story towers, then it is likely that these targets could be reached using traditional urban densities. They could probably build something like the traditional neighborhoods of Paris, with a maximum height of six stories, and without any high-rises.

That would certainly change the character of the area - from an auto-dependent suburb spewing out greenhouse gases to something more like a traditional walkable urban neighborhood.

Charles Siegel


Just to clarify, city neighborhoods in Sydney are called "suburbs." These aren't American-style autoburbs they're talking about. Bankstown, the neighborhood mentioned in the article, is already a pretty dense area along one of the city's transit lines.

Density of Sydney Suburbs

Thanks for the correction. Can you estimate the current density of these Sydney suburbs?

Charles Siegel

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