A Metropolis that Works

Industrial lands

A Metropolis that Works was produced in 2018 to encourage discussion about the future of Greater Sydney's industrial and urban services lands. The 'Retain and Manage' policy adopted in the Greater Sydney Region Plan A Metropolis of Three Cities became the subject of a multi-agency Industrial Lands Policy Review led by the Commission.


Great cities are more than their residential neighbourhoods.

In a fast-growing, physically constrained city, competing pressures on the use of land are intense. Over the past 20 years, how our city works has changed. How the city functions, and the spaces and places where people work, have transformed.

With a focus on the growth of the knowledge economy, industrial and urban activity can get overlooked. The industrial and urban services sector is becoming more efficient and adaptable, and is providing more jobs and making a key contribution to our city's economy. It is a critical component in a metropolis that works.

Managing and supporting  industrial and urban services land requires a carefully considered and managed approach. This paper identifies this land as evolving and advancing to be at the forefront of helping our cities demonstrate resilience in adapting to automation, new format logistics and the need to stimulate employment activities that lead to a more equitable and efficient metropolis.

Thoughtful plans for these precincts will increase the density and range of activities which can take place within them and ensure that they remain productive, affordable and economically viable locations for businesses. Cities around the world are increasingly recognising that successful commercial centres, innovation clusters and health and education precincts rely heavily on their proximity to land which offers vital support, service and interface functions.

For Greater Sydney, alongside active management of existing employment areas and allowing for their evolution, there is also a need for a long-term, spatial approach to providing employment areas in newly developing parts of the metropolis.

Both old and new industrial and urban services activities share important characteristics central to their success, as well as the fundamentals to a functioning city: proximity to end-markets and the creation and sustaining of local networks. They also remind us that while the nature and scope of employment-generating activities will shift over time, the core drivers underpinning why productive activity succeeds in these locations remains.

This paper also argues that industrial and urban services also share the need to access affordable land for industrial uses.