Opening address

Professor James Weirick, UNSW Built Environment

The environmental consequences of Sydney’s expansion across the Cumberland Plain and beyond pose formidable challenges in terms of air quality, water quality, biodiversity and the loss of productive farmland. 

This paper will review the compilation of biophysical data published by the Greater Sydney Commission in 2016, relate this comprehensive survey to the environmental concepts embedded in the first Metropolitan Plan for Sydney prepared by the Cumberland County Council in the late 1940s; the attempts at landscape planning under the State Planning Authority in the 1960s and 1970s; and the Metropolitan Plans prepared since the 1980s. 

Although individual landscape projects over the past 30 years have provided pointers to an environmentally-responsive pattern of urbanisation, the overall scale and structure of Sydney’s urban expansion has been highly destructive of biophysical resources and landscape values. 

The paper will analyse the impediments to effective landscape planning in Sydney to date, and the prospects for change under the recently-created Greater Sydney Commission.


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