Most of the large cities consist of many different parts – like residential, cultural and industrial. Greater Sydney has every part mentioned, but the intense competition of how the land of the city is used pushes us to see one of those parts pushed outside of the city. The experts believe that every part should be treated equally and that finding the right balance in land use is the key.
The industrial part of Greater Sydney is now in danger of being moved outside, due to the high interest in land that it is using. While most of the people commute past urban service and industrial area, not even thinking about it, this part of the city can quickly come to mind when a person needs to have their car serviced near their workplace, when concrete is required for construction or when you just want to enjoy that new microbrewery that has recently opened.
The industrial part of Greater Sydney takes up only 8% of all usable land, but it is responsible for 19% of all jobs in the city. When you take into account that in a few districts of this area the number rises to 37%, you begin to understand why moving this area could be a wrong idea.
Recently, the Greater Sydney Commission released A Metropolis that Works, a new paper that aims to show what are the challenges of managing urban services and industrial land in a big city. Greater Sydney has become one of the most dynamic cities in the world and it needs to find the balance between supporting the growing economy, increasing the need for housing and keeping the city functioning normally. The paper continues the idea behind Greater Sydney Region Plan which was accepted by the NSW government earlier this year. The plan is focusing on the evolution and enhancement of current industrial land.
One of the names for Greater Sydney in Australia is financial capital, but with generating $21.5 billion in economic value, it still remains as the manufacturing capital of Australia. While it was believed that the manufacturing sector was in constant decline, recent statistics have shown that this sector has a key role in the economy of the region.
We have seen in the past industrial land being turned into mixed-residential zones, like in Easter Harbour City. The problem is that employment lands in the Easter City District have decreased by 10% in the last 10 years, while in the North District it has decreased by 14%. Central River City is currently in transition to modern technology and advanced manufacturing, while the industrial lands remain under immense pressure from residential growth. On the other hand, Western Parkland City has already allocated most of its land and now faces shortages that have made the land price increase in the past two years.
Urban services and industrial land should be protected from being relocated to different uses
The government needs to change its approach to managing valuable lands for industrial use, in some cases maybe come up with some way of protecting industrial land from being turned into residential. The general idea is not to stop any change from happening but to find an appropriate way to manage this land so it can evolve for better use.
Furthermore, careful planning is something that must be done for these lands to ensure that they are not only affordable but also for them to remain productive. At the same time, planning should include ways to increase the number of activities available within the same land.
The population of Greater Sydney is still on the rise, which makes the industrial and urban services lands even more important than they are now. Experts say that we should look at this lands not just through the number of jobs they provide, but also how valuable they are to ensuring that the city and its people function properly.
Most of the people enjoy the possibility of having their car serviced locally or the fact that they can look for a new kitchen or bathroom on Sunday, without the need to leave the city or their area. Keeping local business working, means that people from that area are employed and usually the whole network of suppliers is local.
Experts believe that creative industries have immense potential to improve these lands and those industries usually have to be near their customer base. Furthermore, for both old and new industries, the possibility to be near to customers, employees and suppliers is crucial.
Once the industrial land is transformed into residential, it can’t go back
The most important challenge that the industry and urban services land is facing right now is to have access to affordable land. Greater Sydney is now facing a big population growth, which means that the focus of construction investors is on land for medium and high-density use. However, the important thing to keep in mind that it usually doesn’t happen that land that was once industrial and then turned to residential, goes back to being industrial.
San Francisco, New York, London, and Vancouver plan on keeping industrial land
Greater Sydney is not alone in its fight to keep industrial and urban services land for that purpose. Some of the most developed cities in the world – New York, San Francisco, Vancouver, and London have already developed a new approach to this issue and their idea is to basically protect the land needed for industrial purposes. They plan to enable their residential areas to grow, but at the same time, they protect land important for business development.
Experts say that all cities in the world have to find an intelligent approach to have their land is used, depending on their own needs. Industrial and urban services land is and should be an important part of every city and transforming them to land for other use might enable some short-term gains, but in long-term, the city, as well as its people, will be at loss.