APEC High Level Urbanisation Forum

June 2, 2016
Ningbo, China

"How to improve urban resilience, conserve historical and cultural relics, better urban life and shape characteristics of cities by planning and renovating old and rundown urban areas?”


Good afternoon. I’m pleased to join the Urbanisation Forum to talk with you about our approach in Sydney.


Our City Plan, adopted in 2012, accommodates our increasing density in carefully-chosen areas.

The goal is to protect our heritage villages and focus density in former industrial and urban renewal areas.

These sites represent tremendous opportunities. But to reach their full potential, and to contribute to Sydney’s future growth and desirability, they have to be seen as more than just building sites.

We know that successful higher densities need to provide access to a wider job market, education and other essential services especially transport. But equally vital is a high-quality urban environment; one where it is easy – and pleasant – to get around; with opportunities for people to connect, with open space, parks and playgrounds and a diversity of cultural choices.

We have a Design Advisory Panel and a statutory design excellence program that requires a competitive process for all major buildings – a world-first. As a result, Sydney has some outstanding new buildings.

Our city planning team works closely with the Panel and with developers to guide outcomes which include public benefits such as child-care centres, public art, spaces for creativity such as studios for artists and musicians, end-of-trip cycling facilities and car-share spaces.

Our development controls mandate solar access, energy use, water savings and natural ventilation as well as open space and storage. And we encourage meeting rooms in new apartments as well as green roofs and walls and community gardens.

Development controls for precincts similarly deliver public open space, green and walkable streets, a cycling network and water-sensitive urban infrastructure.


Our largest renewal precinct—and one of Australia’s largest urban renewal projects—is the $13 billion, 278 hectare Green Square redevelopment area. 

The site is strategically located in the global economic corridor, between the CBD and the airport.

Green Square will have 61,000 residents, over 30,000 new homes, and 21,000 jobs by 2030.

Our commitment has been to get good design for residential development and attractive public domain, beautiful parks and community facilities.

We’ve committed $540 million for roads, stormwater, footpaths and street furniture and facilities including childcare, a new library and plaza, new parks and playgrounds, an aquatic centre, affordable housing and creative spaces. 

When it is finished Green Square will boast 40 parks and playgrounds and a water harvesting system for the retail and residential precinct in the Town Centre – which will be the largest scheme of its kind in Australia.

Future residents may be able to work close to home, as we are protecting the land adjacent to Green Square for industry, business, jobs and affordable rental housing. By 2030, up to 9,000 more workers are expected in this area.

Even though Green Square will have Australia’s highest population density we are confident of its green credentials and are working to have the Town Centre formally registered for accreditation as a Green Star Community – which will be a first.


Just 400 metres from Central Station in the heart of the city centre, the 5.8 hectare Carlton & United Brewery site on Broadway, now known as Central Park, is undergoing one of Sydney’s most dense residential redevelopments along with commercial office space, student accommodation, shops and cafes.

The redevelopment includes community facilities, retention of heritage items and infrastructure improvements.  A new, beautifully designed park that is integrated with surrounding low-rise neighbourhood of Chippendale helped reduce concerns of locals.

There is a pedestrian and cycle route that connects with the City’s bike network, on-site car share and flexibly designed car parks.

The choice by site developers Frasers Property and Seikisui House to engage world-leading architects for their $2 billion precinct has resulted in an innovative redevelopment that has quickly become a landmark. Especially Jean Nouvel’s vertical gardens and unique heliostat.

The City, Eureka Funds Management and Frasers/Sekisui House signed an historic $26.5 million Environmental Upgrade Agreement to install a gas-powered trigeneration to provide low carbon thermal energy to four thousand residents and 65,000 square metres of retail and commercial space in 14 buildings.

Central Park also has a Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) to provide recycled water for those 4,000 residents, as well as 15,000 workers and visitors expected each day.  


Sydneysiders, once averse to high-density living, are discovering its benefits when it includes convenient access to employment, improved infrastructure, quality open space, easy access to local shops and a rich cultural life.

Sustainability is fundamental and urgent. At the City, our target is to reduce carbon emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, and we are well on the way to achieving that.

The value of our work is best illustrated by the fact that our local government area is now one of the State’s fastest-growing residential areas and by the fact that during the most recent Census, we contributed almost 40 per cent of the total employment growth in metropolitan Sydney – much of it linked to the global economy.

Global surveys consistently rank Sydney highly for its liveability and I am really proud that our work contributes significantly to that. We know that a city where people want to live is also a city where people want to work, set up businesses, and visit.