Which style for Sydney?

I can imagine any capital city having their CBD’s transformed into a mix of Eco-Cities and Sky Cities, with New Urbanism gradually augmenting the suburbs around transport hubs.

Indeed, in Australia it is already beginning to happen. Our CBD’s are becoming Central Residential Districts as well – with a dense population surrounded by diverse functions. See Green Square for one example of something heading into high-rise New Urbanism.


This next one is a New Urban town square, but not quite my style, which is perfectly fine! It’s their style, the Italian flavour of the Norton Street Leichhardt plaza. Trust me, it fills up more than this shot shows, and it really is a mix of private residential above a functional town core. Personally I’d like to see some more trees and lawn areas, and a more intimate, Federation flavour – but that’s me preferring a certain style – not critiquing the substance. This is a step in the right direction.b1f6497bfe33c7a5acb9e0bd84ce2a0a43566317.jpg

What town design would I prefer to live near? Probably something like Stars Hollow, of course – except Australian in style.

stars hollow

The town core is right, but the architectural style is not quite right for Australia. I love Leura and Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, where authentic Australian Federation architecture that reflects who we were. It uses nature not so much as a band-aid to hide ugly buildings, but to adorn beautiful true designs.OCBfromKatoombaSt.jpg

Which can be what it’s all about, a place with a town square or beautiful main street, a nice coffee or lunch, and some good local friends. These photos remind me that towns can live up to Aristotle’s idea of a place that enables “the social pursuits of Conviviality, Citizenship and Artistic, Intellectual and Spiritual Growth.”


How many Central Business Districts? A thought experiment…

Even Paris with her beautiful 5 story height limit has had to allow one City (known in Australia as Central Business Districts or CBD’s). But Paris is one City within a broader metropolitan area of 12 million people! It means poorer people sometimes live on the outskirts of Paris and have very long commutes into the city.


Sydney has a population of about 4.5 million people and the main harbour CBD / City. Plans are underway to try and create 3 Cities in Sydney by 2050, when the population should be at 7.5 million people (compared to today’s 4.5 million).

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It seems they are aiming at one City for every 2.5 million people. The problem with the graphic here is Sydney is a suburban metropolitan area that takes up 10 times more land than if it was New Urban. The “Built to Last” video on the Rezone page says suburbia million people over 400 square miles but New Urbanism only takes up 10% of that — 40 square miles. That’s only 103 square kilometres, or just over 10 by 10km square! At that rate, Sydney with 4.5 million residents would only occupy 465 km2 — not the 12, 367 km2 it takes up today! I’m not saying we should shrink Sydney, but just illustrating that there is plenty of room to house our growing population within Sydney’s existing city limits. There’s no need for expansion.

Now, to transport. The goal of the 3 cities plan is a 30-minute drive to work. My goal is to eliminate the need for most driving! I’m trying to imagine 3 Cities of 2.5 million people each as a collection of New Urbanist towns. They’re around 15,000 to 30,000 people, but let’s say an average of 20,000 people. That would be 125 towns or a grid of roughly 11 by 11 towns with the City in the middle. Imagine what that means! Depending on how train lines merged between towns and down into the city, it might mean the furthest people can live from the closest CBD is only 5 or 6 train stops!

Other New Urban pages:-

Benefits of New Urbanism

More details on New Urbanism, further defining the neighbourhood, town, city, and showing how driving to the town square ruins it, the historical legacy of racist highway development, and how developers want to ruin public spaces.

The Eco-city, bunched in more and covered in trees and bushes.

The Sky-City, 17,000 people in one building!

The Eco-Village: the opposite of the above!

Village towns: incorporating agriculture

Which style for Sydney?

Rail: is so much better than cars

How to get there, given we’ve already spend so much on suburbia?

Objections to New Urbanism:

  1. That’s so typical of Nazi Greenie Control Freaks telling us how to live!
  2. It’s just lefty propaganda — suburbia is the American way
  3. Cities are ugly!
  4. What do we do with the vast suburban areas we’ve already built?
  5. How do we pay for all this?

Energy efficient homes

Tall timbers: modern CLT lets us build skyscrapers out of wood!

Fast homes: Don’t eco-apartments take a year or so to build, and cities take decades?

  • Assembly line homes
  • Cities transformed in 20 years