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Urban Dynamics Essay

With reference to Sydney, discuss the results of urban dynamics on its growth, development, future trends and ecological sustainability. Sydney is a large city in the developed world, located at 33’52’S and 151’10’E on the East coast of Australia. As Sydney is approximately 12000 square km with a growing population of over 4 million, certain urban dynamics must be addressed to allow for ecological sustainability and a resourceful city for future generations. Dynamics which have already had a significant impact on the city are urban decay and renewal, urban consolidation and suburbanisation.

Future trends show that Sydney’s population is expected to increase by 1. 1 million reaching 5. 3 million by 2031. Due to this, it is vital that the city constructs durable developments and creates ecological sustainable practices to maintain genetic diversity and a safe environment. Urban consolidation has emerged in Sydney due to the increasing population growth. It refers to the act of creating higher density housing to allow for more people in the one area. In the inner city, medium to high density buildings dominate the area as well as in the nearby suburbs such as Pyrmont and Ultimo.

Pyrmont-Ultimo is just 2 km west of the CBD (Central Business District) therefore attracting a large number of residents. Supporting this, the Bureau of Statistics show Pyrmont-Ultimo had 13,850 residents per square kilometre in June 2012, therefore making Pyrmont-Ultimo the most densely populated suburb in Australia. Whereas the southern suburb of Engadine only has a population density of 1,801 per square kilometre, this comparison emphasises just how large the population is in Pyrmont-Ultimo. Jackson’s Landing at Pyrmont is a development of more than 1000 apartments and commercial facilities, housing around 2500 residents.

It has been particularly popular with empty-nesters (couples whose children have left home), DINKS (double income no kids) and SINKS (single income no kids) who are looking to live in the inner city. Recently, the Sydney Morning Herald released an article titled “The future is up”, which suggests that Sydney could soon have a new $110 million residential tower in the heart of the city.

The article reads, ‘A 32-storey residential tower with more than 200 apartments with views to Darling Harbour, Circular Quay and the Queen Victoria Building. New developments such as this have been introduced to cater for the growing population, as by going up in high rise buildings is the most efficient solution to the problem of a balance of supply and demand for housing. Urban consolidation such as this will slow the growth of urban sprawl, which is the uncontrolled expansion of urban areas. Due to the increase in population density, a result of urban consolidation will see more harmful practices effect the environment in the one concentrated are of the inner city.

In response to this the NSW government have formulated an ‘Action for Air Plan’ which focuses on air pollution from motor vehicles, industry, commercial and domestic sources. Action plans such as this will help provide a sustainable living environment for Sydney’s current and future residents. Due to the increasing population growth, Sydney’s developments are reaching new heights to allow a greater concentration of people through the process of urban consolidation. The urban dynamic of suburbanisation is impacting Sydney as population growth continues.

Suburbanisation refers to the movement of people, industries and occupations to the suburbs. This is due to technology advancements such as more efficient transport such as railway lines and motor cars. These technologies have become cheaper and more accessible over time, allowing developments and people to move away from the CBD, to the suburbs, but still be able to easily travel to the heart of the city. The suburbs are growing fast, especially those that fringe the inner city such as North Rhyde, Chatswood and Rhodes.

North Ryde is now home to many new economy firms, for example Foxtel, Microsoft and the new Optus centre. As Sydney’s population expands to the suburbs, necessary infrastructure must also be relocated or developed to cater for needs, such as hospitals, regional centres and educational facilities. For example, the Westmead’s Children’s Hospital in Camperdown, relocated to Sydney’s West to cater for the increase in health demand in 1995. Mass car ownership has resulted in the issue of traffic congestion, especially near the CBD.

In response to this the NSW Government has built 110km of motorways and freeways to lessen the impact of traffic congestion. These motorways, such as the M2, M4, M5, and M7 have also allowed for new industrial and warehousing estates to be located close to these corridors of travel. This response has shown to be effective as it has allowed for fast and easy travel between North and South Sydney and East and West Sydney. As the suburban lifestyle becomes more popular, population densities will continue increase. In order to maintain a healthy environment, current resources must not be drained but preserved for the future.

Energy and water are vital resources in Sydney and the Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) aims to lessen the consumption of energy and reduce Sydney’s carbon footprint. Homes built through BASIX are required to have 40% less water usage, and produce 40% fewer greenhouse gas emissions, this project will help gain an ecologically sustainable environment for the present and future. As population numbers rise, Sydney accommodates for this through suburbanisation, further expanding the city of Sydney.

Sydney’s population is expected to increase from just over 4 million to 5. million by 2031. Due to this future population growth significant impacts must be addressed if the aim of ecological sustainability is to be achieved, such as protecting the amenity of the biophysical and built environments, traffic congestion, transport infrastructure, and reducing the consumption of energy. Sydney is addressing these issues through urban dynamics, especially urban consolidation and suburbanisation. Although, if Sydney wishes to see a fulfilling future in years to come ecological sustainability must be achieved and maintained.


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