The Future Of The Eastern Suburbs: What Government Planners Have In Store

The Future Of The Eastern Suburbs: What Government Planners Have In Store

This year has seen some of the biggest planning announcements in Sydney’s history.

We’ve heard that Greater Sydney will be home to three CBDs, including one in Parramatta and another in Badgerys Creek, and we’ve been through a record-breaking building boom. New population estimates have been announced and our city has grown faster than we could have ever expected.

Just this month, the Greater Sydney Commission released draft District Plans that dictate the future of different slices of the Harbour City. Dividing Sydney into six different ‘districts’ has seen the eastern suburbs brought in under the Central District area. This includes the LGAs of Bayside, Burwood, Canada Bay, Inner West, Randwick, Strathfield, the City of Sydney, Waverley and Woollahra.

The priorities of the plan are to drive the growth of the ‘Eastern City’ – which up until now we’ve all known as Sydney CBD – and to increase the amount of jobs, homes and economic activity across the district. There’s also a push to maintain a ’30-minute’ city, with access to jobs and services within half an hour, across the Central District.

This large swathe of Sydney, which includes some of the most expensive real estate in the city, is expected to see the population swell from 1 million in 2016 to 1.34 million by 2036. The big question is: how are we going to house everyone?

By 2036, the Central District will need 157,500 new homes. Shortening the time frame, the estimates are that we’ll need an additional 46,550 homes by 2021. Of these, 300 will be in Woollahra, 1250 will be in Waverley and 2250 will be built in Randwick.

These figures are smaller than what can be found in other LGAs – some are facing thousands of extra dwellings and an obvious pressure to build upwards. But there’s still clearly pressure for developers and policymakers to provide housing in the east.

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Five-year housing targets by Local Government Area


One thing is for certain – these new homes that will be built won’t all be the same types of properties we’ve seen developed in the past. We’ll have 44 per cent more single person households and 29 per cent more couple households with children. We’ll also see rapid growth in the cohort aged 65 plus. By 2036, 28 per cent of the District will be of retiring age and we’ll see a 41 per cent growth in school-aged children.

One of the big development trends to watch in coming years will be the push for terrace, row and courtyard housing and, to a lesser extent, apartments across the east. This has long been flagged as the answer to steering away from high-density while still catering to higher levels of population growth. It’s often described as the “missing middle” in a Sydney where the discussions for so long have focused around the quarter acre ‘Great Australian Dream’ blocks and small inner-city apartments.

These two types of property haven’t been the answer for many families for some years. For the eastern suburbs to cater to this growth and new demand will undoubtedly mean some areas will need to be rezoned to allow for more townhouse development. Some of this is likely to be pushed around transport areas, such as the South East Light Rail development, making the land even more desirable.

The draft District Plans are on formal exhibition until March 2017, and there will be submissions from different groups before we are given the final guidelines and plans. But if there’s one thing we can be sure of, it’s that we have a busy future ahead of us in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.