Setting the standard nationally and globally
Greater Sydney is diverse and expansive. Without question, community experiences of living, working and playing are different in each of its three cities. It is vital that the iconic lifestyle for which Sydney is famous is accessible, and not just to a small section of the community. Leaders and metropolitan planners must address current discrepancies to ensure prosperity and opportunity can be equitably shared in our future.
The shocks and changes from the pandemic provide the opportunity to resolve some of Greater Sydney’s biggest long-term challenges. By diversifying the city’s economy, supporting suburban centres and connecting people to services, Sydney can build inspirational places and environments that enrich people’s lives and health. The city’s infrastructure pipeline will continue to support a buoyant construction sector – meeting acute housing needs through flexible mixed-use developments connected to brand new public transport.
This is a chance to redefine what Greater Sydney truly is. Already, through its three cities agenda, and extensive investments in centres such as Parramatta, Sydney has transcended reliance on a single CBD.
The shift to a megaregion that could be termed “Greater Greater Sydney” will only succeed if the city continues to think big and coordinate and innovate at scale. There is much to learn from the international examples considered in this study.
As the bushfires from the summer of 2019-20 remain fresh in people’s minds, proactive steps are needed to improve the city’s climate resilience. By decarbonising metropolitan systems and embracing renewable energy sources, Greater Sydney has the opportunity to lead a green post-pandemic recovery. Policies that address health, housing, climate change, jobs and liveability will be essential to attract and retain discretionary talent.
The COVID-19 pandemic will no doubt create lasting impacts on the mix of industries in Greater Sydney, accelerating the shift towards a services and knowledge-based economy. As long as all citizens are included, Sydney is well-placed to expand and grow.
There are exciting opportunities to unlock more spaces and use digital technology to serve both economic and social goals. The city and its strategic centres can make more of their flagships – innovation precincts, signature buildings and vibrant public spaces – to attract forward-looking companies themselves striving to be bold.
Greater Sydney can set the standard for other cities to emulate in the region, nationally and globally.