Let’s kickstart the blog with a topic very close to heart; the Metro Strategy. Why is it close to my heart you might ask? The reason being, when I was employed at a planning consultancy a few years ago, I was responsible for researching and updating the planning team on the metro strategy. This task provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the Department of Planning’s vision for Sydney over the next two decades.
The above image is a classic representation of urban planners as ‘surgeons’ who have the vital role to improve the health of Sydney as a global city.
We have entered a new decade and we still find ourselves reading news articles repeating the same messages; “house prices are rapidly rising”, “there is a high demand for housing, but there is a huge housing stock shortage”, etc.
All of these messages point to the same required outcome; a realistic strategic plan is necessary for the sustainability of Sydney. Given that this is the first blog for the website it is the perfect opportunity to focus on the metro strategy review. In my opinion when the original strategy was released in 2005 it was just the plan Sydney needded at that time. There were aspects which were not properly addressed, such as the management and delivery of the North West and South West Growth Centres. These centres are perhaps the last viable areas for residential development for Sydneysiders wishing to live here, even if it means living on the fringe.
Other issues which were not addressed include the failure to address the impacts caused by the future relocation of agricultural produce due to residential development. Peak oil and the future energy supply for Sydney were also not addressed. In my opinion these issues should also be raised in the current review of the metro strategy.
There are 11 main issues addressed by the discussion paper released by the Department of Planning. In the paper there are a number of questions raised which intend to promote discussion. The review is a very ambitious plan as it covers all the issues relevant to the future of Sydney.
It is all very well to suggest issues which need to be addressed, however in my opinion the focus of the review should be on the implementation of these changes. Sydney has waited far too long for a planning system which is attractive for developers with minimal red tape and also a transport system which connects under-serviced areas.
After visiting the public forum website I only noticed there were only a few submissions made and it seems like it has not been too successful considering their website was launched a few weeks ago.
As the name of this website suggests (The Planning Boardroom), I encourage you to leave your comments here. As the review progresses I’m sure we will re-visit this topic. If you would like to make a comment to the Department of Planning I suggest you visit their site by 30 April 2010 and have your opinions heard (hopefully).
The Discussion Paper can be downloaded here