Differential application of planning policy deepening the intracity divide: the case of Greater Sydney, NSW, Australia

Keywords: Divided city, inequality, Sydney, urban planning policy


Urban planning policies in New South Wales (NSW), Australia are continuously being reformed, in order to make them more economic development friendly. These reforms are concerned with making development approvals easier and faster. The implementation of these reforms and their outcomes in Greater Sydney, NSW, vary according to the local socio-economic conditions. The affluent communities in Greater Sydney are very concerned about these reforms and actively resist their application in their areas. They are successful in avoiding the application of reformed urban planning policies. However, the lower socio-economic parts of Greater Sydney in the outer areas are not able to engage with these urban policy issues. The reformed urban policies are fully applied in the poorer areas, often resulting in excessive and poor-quality urban development. Past research on urban planning policy development, application and outcomes in Sydney has not investigated selective planning policy application and its differential outcomes. This paper analyses the selective application of some recent urban planning policy reforms as they relate to socio-economic division in Greater Sydney. The research argues that the selective application of urban planning policy in Greater Sydney is reinforcing socio-economic division there.


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