Resistance to high density development creating barriers to urban improvement: Lucy Turnbull

Resistance to high density development creating barriers to urban improvement: Lucy Turnbull
Resistance to high density development creating barriers to urban improvement: Lucy Turnbull

High density urban redevelopment is needed to improve housing affordability and ensure community access to amenities is fairly distributed around Sydney as the city grows, according to the chair of the Committee for Sydney and director of Turnbull and Partners, Lucy Turnbull.

But local resistance to high density development is creating barriers to urban improvement, Turnbull said at the 2014 HIA Building Better Cities Summit in Sydney last week.

“There is a fundamental break down between professional and industry understanding, and community understanding, of the benefits of smart growth,” said Turnbull, who among other board and executive positions is Chair of the Committee for Sydney and former Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney.

“Communities often have the default position that doing nothing is the best thing,” she said.

Resistance to development was often based on a fear of a loss of access to services such as healthcare, car parking, childcare, local schools and public transport.

This was exacerbated by the small size of Sydney’s local government areas which led to attitudes at a local level that managing wider national and metropolitan population and economic growth was someone else’s problem, Turnbull said.

With a population of around 4.5 million, Sydney has 38 local government areas. In contrast, Brisbane has one local government area covering a population of one million. Overseas, London has a population of 8.2 million and one city council that sits above 33 local government areas. New York City, with 8.3 million people, has one city council and five boroughs.

Turnbull said higher density developments in Sydney could deliver benefits to the community by improving the vitality of town centres and access to public transport.

She said the Central Park development near Sydney’s central station and Stockland Balgowlah on Sydney’s northern beaches should be held up as good examples of urban development done well.

She identified Parramatta, Liverpool and Penrith as areas in which higher density centres should be developed.

Zoe Fielding

Zoe Fielding

I am a freelance journalist and editor with more than 15 years experience specialising in personal finance, property, financial services and financial technology. A skilled writer and researcher, I have extensive experience producing high quality content for corporate and media clients. I am used to working to tight deadlines and tailoring the pieces I produce to suit a variety of audiences and formats.

Policy Sydney

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