The Pulse Survey 2021

To help us prepare the next generation of plans, we surveyed local residents to understand their aspirations for the future and their expectations of city planning.

The Commission, together with Ipsos Public Affairs, surveyed a representative sample of 2,400 adult residents, aged 18+, across the five districts of Greater Sydney. The interviews were conducted online in May 2021, and the data was weighted to reflect the population profile.

Here is what we heard across the region

  • Residents want infrastructure to keep pace with growth (61%), with a focus on transport links between the three cities and 30-minute connections (71%).
  • Nearly 90% of residents travelling more than 30 minutes want jobs closer to home.
  • More than half of residents live further than five minutes’ walk from public transport, with the lowest levels of proximity in the Western City and South districts.

Travelling distance
  • Providing more jobs close to home would be welcomed across the metropolis: 87% of those spending more than 30 minutes commuting would prefer to work closer to home.
Priorities for infrastructure planning

Improving connections to the three cities and strategic centres is the top priority.  

  • Seven in ten residents (71%) think the top priority for the future of Greater Sydney’s infrastructure is improving transport connections to the three cities and strategic centres (working towards a ’30-minute city’).  
  • Many also view new infrastructure keeping up with growth (61%) as one of the most important aspects of planning Greater Sydney’s future infrastructure.  
  • This is viewed by most as being more important than the better use of existing infrastructure (27%) and designing infrastructure that keeps up with new technology (27%).  
  • Collaboration between government, business and communities for planning is also considered important (34%).
Planning for liveability

Well-connected, useable spaces, healthcare services, and well-located, affordable housing are the top priorities for boosting liveability across the five districts of Greater Sydney. 

  • Almost half of residents (47%) think well-connected facilities such as schools, medical services and social spaces including cafes, restaurants and sporting facilities is the most important aspect of planning for future liveability.   
  • This desire for access and connection is also demonstrated by residents valuing housing within walking distance of local centres (37%) and the creation of public spaces that bring people together (34%).
  • One in three residents think the provision of affordable housing to support working households (33%) is a priority, while a similar priority is put on having a greater diversity of housing types (31%). 
Planning for productivity

Very strong community support exists for public transport improvements and a 30-minute city.

  • More than half of residents think improving public transport services to strategic centres (57%) and planning for a 30-minute city (52%) are the top priorities for the city’s productivity.
  • Health and education facilities located near each other were perceived as important to one third of residents (30%).
  • Almost one in three (29%) residents also think improving transport connections to the Lower Hunter, Central Coast and Wollongong is important for future productivity, as is building on Greater Sydney’s health and education strengths (27%).
Planning for sustainability

Most residents are worried about the impact of climate change on Greater Sydney (80%), and many say they have changed how they live, or are considering changes, to reduce their contribution to climate change. There is strong support for renewable energy – including rooftop solar – and strong endorsement for more walking and cycling (72%). Residents across the five districts also want more tree cover and leafiness for their local area (62%).

Energy and water efficiency, waste reduction and more recycling and waste management facilities are the key priorities for planning a more sustainable city.  

  • Increasing and water efficiency is seen as the most important priority for almost a third (32%) of residents.
  • Reducing the volume of waste created and diverting waste from landfill is also seen as a key priority (30%).  
  • A quarter of residents also see more waste facilities (25%), emission reduction initiatives (24%) and responding to climate change impacts (24%) as key priorities. 
What’s being done

These valuable insights, as well as feedback from our recent Six Cities Discussion Paper, will help shape future region planning.