The NSW government has released a 40-year strategy to divide Sydney into three separate cities by 2056. The plan includes a harbour-side city in the east; a central river city around Parramatta; and a parkland city west of the M7.

Lucy Turnbull, the head of the Greater Sydney Commission, announced the strategy on Sunday. It’s titled Towards Our Greater Sydney 2056 and updates the existing A Plan for Growing Sydney. “Reshaping Greater Sydney as a metropolis of three cities – Eastern, Central and Western – will rebalance it, fostering jobs, improving housing affordability, easing congestion and enhancing our enviable natural environment across the entire region,” she said.

A separate transport plan, delivered by Transport Minister Andrew Constance, promises that two-thirds of locals will have a 30-minute commute between these three cities in 40 years’ time.

“Never before has planning and transport come together to actually map out a 40-year vision to make sure we grow properly in the future,” Constance said. “The three cities will each have improved transport facilities and will be interlinked through a technology-focused plan.”

The website for the plan states: “Walking and cycling will become increasingly important in daily travel arrangements with well-designed and safe paths in popular thoroughfares improving the sustainability of the region and the wellbeing of residents.” The plan flags a train link from Kogarah to Parramatta for future investigation, as well as a link between Parramatta and the north-west.

Turnbull described the commission’s report as a “landmark” blueprint, as Sydney moves towards accommodating six million people in 20 years’ time, and eight million by 2056 (when the three cities will be rolled out). The current population is 4.8 million).

There are 10 “directions” in the plan, including “a city for the people” which lists vague objectives such as “Greater Sydney’s communities are culturally rich with diverse neighbourhoods”. Another direction is about “valuing green spaces and landscape” with objectives of “the coast and waterways are protected and healthier” and “urban tree canopy cover is increased”.

“This is particularly exciting for Sydney’s west, with an entirely new city to emerge west of the M7, where the new western Sydney airport and the surrounding aerotropolis [surrounding the new Badgerys Creek airport] will support tens of thousands of jobs,” Turnbull said.

The plan has been criticised for lack of detail and the long time frames.

Via the Sydney Morning Herald.