Which style for Sydney?

I can imagine any capital city having their CBD’s gradually transformed into Eco-Cities with traditional New Urbanism gradually augmenting the suburbs around transport hubs.

Remembering that developers might be willing to help fund half the costs of building the Metro’s necessary to run New Urbanism if we sell them the air above the Metro station – we might see New Urbanism pocketed with taller Eco-city cores.

Indeed, in Australia it is already beginning to happen. Our CBD’s are not just Central Business District’s any more. They’re becoming liveable – with EcoCity elements gradually transforming them into “CRD’s – Central Residential Districts”, to coin a term.

Again we see the 2 main ingredients – 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. But Australian Federation in style.

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I love Leura and Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, where authentic Australian Federation architecture that reflects who we were. Others might be attracted to experimental New Urban districts that reflect an aesthetic about who we are becoming. Others might be more influenced by a certain ethnicity or cultural feel – like a China town or other cultural expression. 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!

Next page: the many Benefits of New Urbanism