Cheaper forms of housing in more expensive suburbs? That’s an Orwellian “doublethink”

There’s a draft NSW State Environmental Planning Policy (draft SEPP) for housing diversity out for discussion and it’s sparked the interest of the property developer lobby group Urban Taskforce. The Fifth Estate welcomes thoughts and contributions from other readers on this topic. “Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, […]

Planning in an era of COVID-19 and high density living

In planning circles, debate has ignited around the relative resilience of different dwelling types to the COVID-19 pandemic and the prospect of health threats like it in the future. It’s highlighted the shortfalls high density living – when it’s done badly, at least – so does this mean people will flock to the suburbs?

Sydney’s complacent planning when we need resilience and urgent change

What do you get for $2.5 million in Sydney? The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has been throwing this sort of money at Sydney councils to do some strategic planning, and is just about to learn how poor value-for-money Sydney can be.

On Brisbane’s medium density dilemma and a council election

News from the front desk, issue 467: There’s an election looming for the Brisbane City Council on 28 March and urban planning looks like shaping up as a key issue that could sway the result.

The angry god, urban trust and policy integrity

Bushfires are an angry God’s message to Australia for its support of same-sex marriage, according to Israel Folau. Presumably, the more ferocious conflagration near Sydney means its sin is greater. Felled by smoke and regret, its watery-eyed penitents must now kneel and beg forgiveness.

New thinking needed to address Sydney growth constraints

If government won’t explore innovative ways to grow Sydney’s CBD, perhaps the private sector – with all its faults – may be our only hope. It sometimes seems that planning is as much a concealing and evasive discipline as it is a coordinating and enabling one. As explained recently in The Fifth Estate, Pyrmont is […]

Ultimo Pyrmont – A neighbourhood and community not to be messed with!

Approving Star City’s proposed tower would destroy a rare example of planning gone “right”, when planners, politicians and the community worked together. The latest Pyrmont debate is an important one and it’s worth putting some background on the table to inform the way forward.  The NSW Department of Planning established a team of planners in […]

The future of transit in cities could be point to point mobility that mimics nature

Imagine a transport system powered by renewable energy that lets you zip around on autonomous pods above the ground as quickly and smoothly as blood and nutrients course through our bodies, and is linked up to our food production systems for faster paddock-to-plate dining than ever before.

Rolling the dice on planning at Star casino and its giant proposal

The scale of Star City’s proposed hotel and apartment tower has ignited opposition, but why is nobody talking about what’s really going on? Here’s a look at how manipulating planning rules can create massive uplift in value – for private hands at almost no cost. Like money out of thin air in fact…

Why NSW needs a revised medium density housing code

The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code has attracted widespread criticism from those concerned with suburban over-development, amenity and the role of state government in local planning.

On the need to keep the high street busy

News from the front desk issue 442: It’s no secret among our most avid readers that we’re based in inner Sydney.

The post-election infrastructure review

The NSW and federal 2019 elections saw the return of Coalition governments. My perspective – from western Sydney – is: Coalition infrastructure policies have been dreadful, Labor’s offerings weren’t any better.

Election cash splash shows transport planning shouldn’t be left to politicians

OPINION: Over the weekend we had Bill Shorten promise $10 billion in federal funding for the Suburban Rail Loop proposed by the Victorian Labor government, and Scott Morrison promise $4 billion in federal funding for the East West Link. With such massive amounts of money being thrown around, you’d think there would be some good […]

Chris Johnson: the case for mixed use with employment land

OPINION: The debate about industrial and urban services land continues with the head of property development industry organisation Urban Taskforce Chris Johnson challenging the Greater Sydney Commission “troika” and arguing for a “new Sydney” that embraces mixed-used precincts.