Green claims of ‘massive overdevelopment’ misunderstand where people want to live: Chris Johnson

Green claims of ‘massive overdevelopment’ misunderstand where people want to live: Chris Johnson
Green claims of ‘massive overdevelopment’ misunderstand where people want to live: Chris Johnson


The data analysis on Sydney council housing targets produced by the Greens spokesperson for Urban Growth and Renewal, Jamie Parker, confuses locations where people want to live with ‘overdevelopment’.

The Greens data demonstrates that Sydneysiders prefer to live in amenable areas close to jobs and public transport, and have interpreted this preference to be a symptom of ‘overdevelopment’.

Having people live in accessible areas close to public transport in order to use the train or bus to travel to work delivers positive environmental outcomes by minimising car travel.

It seems strange that the Greens are against this.

Would they rather minimise development around these transport nodes and have more cars on the roads contributing to congestion and air pollution?

The Greens research indicates that the councils which are generally low density, mainly made up of free-standing homes were underperforming in relation to housing targets set by the State Government, while suburbs which encourage apartment buildings are over performing.

The councils that are below targets are Penrith with a deficit of 8,267 dwellings, Campbelltown with a deficit of 17,005 and Camden with a shortfall of 776 while those that are above target are Parramatta with an additional 8,490 dwellings, Botany with 5,141 and Ryde with 3,861.

The clear consumer preference is for apartments in accessible locations close to jobs and public transport over free-standing homes out on the fringes.

Recent data from Domain indicated that the median price for a Sydney house was $1,123,991 while the median price for an apartment was $711,256.

Clearly many home hunters are trading off household size (apartment rather than a house) for location (closer to jobs and amenities).

The Greens statement that councils exceeding their targets are only due to ‘the demands of the developers’ is simply shooting the messenger.

Developers are only responding to the market and consumer preferences on where people want to live. Clearly there can be many benefits associated with new development.

These include additional development contributions that fund libraries, community halls, parks and improvements to the public domain.

The Greens need to understand that as Sydney grows, our population increases and that a more urban environment is inevitable.

If they were forward thinking, they would be advocating for a sustainable, higher-density urban form for Sydney – not just objecting to all development.

Chris Johnson is chief executive officer of property development industry group Urban Taskforce and can be contacted here.

Sydney Urban Taskforce

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