2012-09-22

Metropolitan Sydney

Sydney is a globally recognized city with the most famous harbour, the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and awesome beaches. In addition to being the most famous city in Australia, it also has the highest population and contributes around a quarter of the national GDP. Sydney too is ranked high in the world's most liveable cities.

However, with strong population growth and competition in cities throughout Australia and the world, Sydney's pace is slowing in comparison. Two important natural hindrance is that 1) the current CBD is actually far to the east of the Sydney metropolitan area; and 2) the harbour (which ironically is what made Sydney great) is acting as a barrier to efficient transportation and is limiting the growth of the city.

The NSW government has realized for many years that to ensure Sydney remains globally competitive, productive, sustainable and liveable, the best strategy forward is to strengthen "a city of cities." The image below is taken from the “Metropolitan Plan for Sydney 2036” and shows the cities and centres in Metropolitan Sydney.

It is clear that the current harbour CBD is not the centre of Metropolitan Sydney. Parramatta is the closest to being considered the centre, and is in fact already officially regarded to be the second CBD of Sydney. Forecasts show that half of the population in Metropolitan Sydney will live west of Parramatta within the next 20 years.

The NSW Department of Planning & Infrastructure has pointed out that the best strategy going forward is to ensure most of the jobs and homes are close to the existing or planned cities and centres. I agree with this strategy and also many points in the long-term planning document, except that not enough emphasis is placed on growing Parramatta to be a truly great CBD.

I would like to have the second Sydney CBD to rival that of Melbourne, with:
  1. the tallest skyscrapers in Australia;
  2. motorway and world-class traffic interchange with heavy and light rail connecting other cities and centres in Sydney; and
  3. high-speed rail connecting Parramatta to the harbour CBD, airport, and other Australian capital cities.
The current habour CBD can continue to be the world famous tourist destination. The two CBDs can work hand-in-hand, playing their respective strengths, to ensure the long-term competitiveness and prosperity of the whole metropolitan region.

Parramatta is still far from being a premier CBD, but there is certainly the potential if you buy into
the vision and help make it happen. Parramatta is the true geographic centre of Metropolitan Sydney, and it'll be to the benefit (think more affordable housing and less traffic congestion) of all Sydneysiders if it can become a truly amazing CBD.


We need everyone's help, no matter how big or how small, to make Sydney a competitive, dynamic and liveable city. Our home.
  1. Design and build iconic landmarks and skyscrapers in the second CBD.
  2. Locate company headquarters and government organizations there.
  3. Work, live, shop and dine in central Sydney where possible.
  4. Provide feedback on the "NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan," asking for more transport investment for Parramatta.
  5. Spread the word!
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