Australia’s first aerotropolis will take form in Western Sydney by 2026, and the authority responsible for delivering the development is looking to Tokyo for inspiration.
Under the plan, the curfew-free, 24-hour Western Sydney Airport, scheduled to open in 2026, will be transformed into a vibrant urban centre with industry, jobs, transport, housing, infrastructure, education and open space all built around the airport and centred on aviation activity.
The Western City Aerotropolis, one of the centrepieces of the Western Sydney Parkland vision, will be built on 11,500-hectares of land in Bringelly around the planned airport. In comparison, Barangaroo comprises 20 hectares and Melbourne’s Docklands covers 128 hectares.
Tsukuba Science City
Sam Sangster, CEO of the Western City and Aerotropolis Authority (WCAA), said that the WCAA is looking at Tsukuba Science City, about 50 km to the northeast of Tokyo, as a possible blueprint for the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.
Tsukuba is a planned science park designated in 2007 as a special city with increased autonomy. It is home to numerous leading companies, including US multinational Intel, as well as higher education facilities and schools centred around a series of zones.
The WCAA has signed a number of Memoranda of Understanding with research and industry organisations to partner on the aerotropolis, including one with Japan’s Urban Renaissance Agency (UR).
UR is the Japanese government’s equivalent of Urban Growth and Landcom and will offer technical advice for development and rejuvenation in the Western Sydney Aerotropolis, the Western Parkland City and the Greater Sydney region.
‘A 22nd Century city’
Mr Sangster said the Western Sydney development will create 200,000 new jobs, bring investment to Australia and establish a new centre of industry and research excellence.
Over half the population of Sydney will live west of Parramatta by 2036, he said.
“The reality is the population of Sydney can’t all just fit around the Harbour” Mr Sangster said. “We need to look at how we accommodate growth. This is a significant growth story and it’s about ensuring that we make the most of the opportunity that arises from the construction of the airport.”
Western Sydney’s aerotropolis would be a “22nd Century city”, he said, digitally connected and resilient to economic and climate change.
The aerotropolis is being built under the Western Sydney City Deal, a 20-year partnership between the Commonwealth, NSW State Government and eight local councils to transform the area into what is promised to be “an economic powerhouse and one of the most connected and liveable places in Australia”.
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