With a significant amount of political, community and media discussion about the future of huge Metro infrastructure projects in Sydney, we in the broader urban planning and community sector have turned our focus to the housing density discussion that is inextricably linked to it. Communities along these corridors are, quite reasonably, concerned about what this might mean for their homes and communities. And so are we.
As far back as 2016, academics like Professor Bill Randolph have been sounding the alarm in articles like this in The Conversation , wondering whether a corridor like Sydenham-Bankstown would become a ‘nirvana or nightmare’. As this article spells out, that corridor is currently home to one of the largest concentrations of lower-income renters in Sydney, along with a large population of retirees on fixed, low incomes. As housing density increases, with investment rolling in, Randolph forecast that rents will rise risking huge displacement.
Just in case you live in another part of Sydney and feel this may not impact you, Randolph gives this warning: without a significant affordable housing component, many of the essential workers who live there today – the mechanics, care attendants and shop workers – will be pushed further towards Sydney’s periphery. That will leave the rest of the city struggling to get the lower-paid workforce it needs to function productively.
Shelter NSW is currently working with the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) to call for inclusive urban renewal near station precincts. With so many large housing and transport project announcements on the boil we feel this urgent.
We’re calling for a new Stations SEPP based on a new deal for inclusive growth. This would provide strategic context for how individual measures, for example, affordable housing developer bonuses are better integrated into precincts.
Inclusive Renewal should lead to more well-located social and affordable housing; more diverse housing; climate conscious design; better access to jobs and services and investment in the public domain to deliver better amenity for the people who live and work there..
The people of the Sydenham to Bankstown understand that each of their suburbs is different. Inclusive Renewal would abandon the cookie-cutter and develop diverse tailored expressions that reflect each precinct’s opportunities and constraints.