2/3rds of Sydneysiders now Believe Sydney if Full – why Cities Always Rebel before they can properly Densify

A couple of weeks ago Professor Janice Morphet disagreed with a presentation I gave at a seminar, where I argued that for London to accommodate all of its own household  growth by 2.052 would require 3.8 Hong Kong’s Worth of Tower Blocks and this would be politically impossible in a democracy.  She disagreed arguing that London had hardly begun to densify.  The argument though is not whether there is the theoretical potential for densification, London clearly does,  as cities with the highest theoretical uplift have also the highest number of voters who will be affected by it.  With a majority now renting they lack the incentive to sell up to densify.  So those cities they try aggressively to density always see a backlash they see the density dials racked down in due course.  Case studies include San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, Seattle  It is slightly naive then to argue they should be more urbanist.  They tried and sacked chief planners, political and voters rebellion later shows how hard it is in a democracy.  Only cities like Harare and Moscow have managed to drive mass identification through – so are the models Mugabe and Putin? Whilst cities in democracies such as Seoul have failed, leaving in some cases, as in Seoul, a legacy of mass demolition and massive corruption, without seeing enough houses to replace the ones being demolished.  In Britain with Corbyn at the Labour conference we see a similar rebellion.  Javid is already talking about moving away from the Tower Block towards ‘Olympic Villages type densities (London needs 53.6 Olympic Villages or  62.8 redeveloped Aylesbury Estates at that density of development – try finding space for just one extra or space for the decants post Grenfell.)

Sydney Morning Herald

More than two-thirds of people believe Sydney is full and property development should be pushed to the fringes, new polling shows, amid simmering tensions within communities and the Berejiklian government over the issue.

With plans for hundreds of thousands of apartments in the city’s “priority precincts” over the next 20 years, the ReachTel poll conducted for Fairfax Media shows 66.4 per cen

It finds 22.8 per cent support more development in existing areas because Sydney is growing and 10.7 per cent are undecided.

Significantly for the Coalition government, 61.7 per cent of Liberal supporters believe Sydney is full, 28 per cent are in favour of more development and 10.4 per cent are undecided.


Planning Minister Anthony Roberts says more housing is needed to accommodate a growing population.Planning Minister Anthony Roberts says more housing is needed to accommodate a growing population.

Of Labor voters, 68 per cent are opposed to more development in existing areas, 17.8 per cent are in favour and 14.1 per cent are undecided.

The results will fuel tensions over the Greater Sydney Commission’s plans, spilling into the upper echelons of the NSW government.

Cabinet colleagues Corrections Minister David Elliott and Planning Minister Anthony Roberts have

Fairfax Media revealed last month that then deputy mayor of Ryde Jane Stott said she felt “threatened and intimidated” by Finance Minister Victor Dominello after he told her and then Ryde mayor Bill Pickering he could not support their preselections if they voted in favour of a 1400-apartment development he opposed.

Mr Dominello, the member for Ryde, has denied doing anything wrong, arguing he was standing up for his community in the face of overdevelopment.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet John Sidoti has criticised development plans in his seat of Drummoyne.

Days after he stood alongside Mr Roberts at a media conference to launch the feedback process for a plan to add 3600 homes at Rhodes East, Mr Sidoti said he believed it should be “totally abandoned”.

The Greater Sydney Commission, established last year to lead on planning and development issues and chaired by former Sydney lord mayor Lucy Turnbull, says the city will need about 725,000 extra homes over the next 20 years to accommodate a growing and ageing population.

Sydney’s population is expected to grow by about 1.74 million by 2036.

It says that, even without further population growth, an additional 140,000 homes will be needed in this period due to the anticipated fall in the size of the average home as the ageing population of “empty nesters” and singles boosts demand.

The top five local government areas due to bear the brunt of the development over the next five years are Parramatta (21,450), Sydney (18,250), Blacktown (13,600), Canterbury-Bankstown (12,200) and Camden (11,800).

On Sunday, a spokesman for Mr Roberts said the NSW government “is committed to providing homes for Sydney’s growing population, but with careful consideration for maintaining local character”.

“It is thanks to Labor and the ‘Sydney is full’ mentality that the Coalition government inherited a 100,000 dwelling shortage in Sydney,” he said.

The spokesman said the population was increasing because people were living longer, more children were being born and more people were moving to NSW due to it having an economy that was “the best in Australia”.

“The government’s priority growth areas and priority precincts are being strategically developed to recognise local character, deliver more open and active recreation space and create employment opportunities at the same time as delivering the increased types of housing our city needs,” he said.

The reason why

They have dominated suburban Sydney for generations but the freestanding home with a driveway and a yard is in decline.

The total number of traditional detached homes across greater Sydney has fallen by almost 15,000 over the past decade, analysis of the census shows, even though the city’s population grew by more than three-quarters of a million people in that time.

Terry Rawnsley, regional economist with consultancy SGS Economics & Planning, said

“Sydney is going through a catch-up phase to get more of that medium and high-density accommodation.”

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