An announcement by the City of Sydney has revealed that the expected number of residents in Green Square by 2030 has risen by 7,000 people, which will bring its density up to 22,000 people per square kilometre. Green Square is the largest urban renewal area in the city and was once heavily used for industry.
A population of 61,000 will be squeezed into 2.78 square kilometres (278 hectares), which will make Green Square the most densely populated urban area in Australia and bring it close to some of the most closely packed urban populations in the world. A 2011 Hong Kong census showed an overall population of 6,544 per square kilometre, while its Kwun Tong District – a notoriously dense area with high levels of poverty and industry – had a density of 55,204 people per square kilometre.
According to Australia’s 2011 census, the country’s most densely populated spot was a square kilometre around Potts Point and Woolloomooloo that housed 14,747 residents. Greater Sydney was shown to have a density of 6,562 people per square kilometre while Greater Melbourne had 2,742 people per square kilometre.
The largest urban renewal area in Australia, Fishermans Bend in Melbourne, is a 455-hectare area expected to have a population of 80,000 by 2050 – which would only give it a density of 17,582 people per square kilometre.
Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore said Green Square urgently needs school and transport planning to accommodate its population.
“The NSW government has still not allocated any funding or revealed where the local primary and high schools will be located for the tens of thousands of new residents in Green Square,” she said.
“And with worsening traffic congestion there’s an urgent need for mass transit, which is why I am pleased the transport minister has recognized that a light rail line is needed to accommodate the massive growth in Green Square.”
Transport for the area has not yet been confirmed, but the City of Sydney has been advocating for a connection to the city’s new light rail system. In July this year, the NSW state transport minister Andrew Constance publicly supported a light rail for Green Square for the first time.
Lord Mayor Moore emphasized the positive elements of the area’s high density growth, and said the city council has committed $540 million to new facilities for the area.
“We are determined to do high density well, to make Green Square an exciting place for all members of the community,” she said.
“Urban development’s critical because Sydney can’t keep developing its food basin – doing high density well means convenient access to employment, improved infrastructure, quality open space, easy access to local shops, a rich cultural life and buildings guided by the principles of design excellence.”
The city council said the rise in expected population came about through its design excellence process, which grants developers with a ten percent floor space bonus when projects meet good quality design criteria.
The data released by the City of Sydney shows that built and planned spaces for Green Square will cover a total of 4.1 million square metres, more than five times the size of the development of Barangaroo.