Parks, pools and piazzas: Push to make Sydney in 2050 a place for people

Sydney will be transformed by three long public squares in the heart of the city, wider walkways and harbor pools under a City of Sydney plan to hand over more urban spaces to people by 2050.

The Council’s long-term strategy for what post-pandemic Sydney could look like in 30 years’ time includes better links to culture, indigenous history and the port, and the progressive greener city center.

The City of Sydney wants to create new public property on Circular Quay by 2050. Credit:City of Sydney

Lord Mayor Clover Moore, who won a historic fifth term in December, said the strategy was a continuation of the council’s Sustainable Sydney 2030 vision, released in 2012, and that there was “more to do”.

“All successful cities have long-term plans to ensure that their economies and communities prosper, companies invest with confidence and all governments work together to provide vital infrastructure and services,” she said.

Scanning

But one councilor has criticized the strategy as a “copy and paste” of the 2030 strategy, which failed to show how the council could make Sydney “the undisputed largest city in the southern hemisphere”.

The Council launched a comprehensive public consultation process for the new plan in 2019. It used discussions with residents, children, workers, businesses, visitors from across Sydney, First Nations people and a citizens’ jury to formulate the strategy. Common themes were the desire for climate action and fair access to the city.

This research helped identify 10 “ambitious” urban planning projects that the council hopes to implement by 2050. They include the long-planned pedestrian backbone along George Street that connects three major public squares at Central, Town Hall and Circular Quay.

The council has been slowly acquiring a suite of properties across George Street from Town Hall for the past 10 years, hoping to create a rare open space in the city. The proposed public area at Circular Quay, which aims to improve access to the water, would require the removal of the Cahill Expressway.

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