Western Sydney is entering an unprecedented phase of development spurred by the Western Sydney City Deal, the coming Airport, Aerotropolis and large scale infrastructure program. A key growth area not only for NSW, but for Australia, the development of Western Sydney provides a once in a generation opportunity to create a liveable region to serve the growing number of residents and further position Sydney as an Asia Pacific hub for business.
With a population of more than two million and growing, Western Sydney is where it’s all happening. “New aviation, road and rail networks are being planned alongside supporting infrastructure and industries – and these are just the tip of the iceberg,” says Alana Newbrook, WSP’s Director, Advisory and Regional Director for Sydney & Greater Western Sydney. “Add in a pandemic which makes us rethink the way we live, where we work and what the jobs of the future are; and you quickly realise the enormity of the opportunity to do something great to boost the region’s liveability.”
Whilst investment in major infrastructure has, and will, continue to play a significant role in shaping the future of Western Sydney, it’s not the only key to unlocking the long-term success of the region.
WSP, in partnership with the Centre for Western Sydney and the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, has produced a report that looks beyond the well-known, ‘big-ticket’ projects synonymous with the region’s growth story. ‘Western Sydney Centres: Beyond Recovery’ focuses on key accessibility elements critical to driving economic development and delivering improved social and environmental outcomes.
Specifically, the report outlines the need for:
- Changes in planning, policy and investment settings, aligned to achieve mode shift targets to reduce car-dependancy.
- The ability for centres to be both planned and de-regulated to enable the evolution of integrated Innovation Precincts, incorporating mixed-use activities around core public spaces.
- Pursuing rapid transport options that intersect and disrupt spaces rather than simply connecting them.
- Embedding human centred design into infrastructure planning processes to enable communities, in all their diversity, to participate in the placemaking process.
Dr Andy Marks, Director of the Centre for Western Sydney at Western Sydney University says, “Access to employment, education, health services, transport, as well as digital connectivity, remains challenging for many people in the West. The pandemic and recession has compounded this problem for some communities. To be effective, policy and planning responses must be co-created with the region’s residents, rather than simply imposed on them.”
COVID-19 has not only changed the way Western Sydney’s residents work, live and play, it has also impacted how local centres function. Adam Leto, Executive Director, Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue explains, “Emerging from the pandemic and the associated recession, there is a real imperative, to recalibrate the Western Sydney growth agenda. It is critical that we take the opportunity to learn from these challenging times and focus on equipping the region to respond to the future aspirations of its communities and to enhance its economic development role.”
Focused on the urban centres of South-West Sydney and the Western Parkland City, specifically: Liverpool, Bankstown, Campbelltown-Macarthur, Penrith and ‘the Aerotropolis’ (Badgerys Creek), the report seeks to understanding the issues that underpin future economic growth as they relate to:
- Healthy and accessible places
- Retention and attraction of talent
- People and place
Overall, the report outlines ways to grow thriving and connected urban centres that feature jobs, learning, transport and amenity that will benefit generations now and into the future.