As the District's population grows, major demographic changes are also occurring. Planning must recognise the changing composition of population groups in local places and provide services and social infrastructure that meet the changes in people's needs through different stages of life.
This requires integrated planning and collaboration, including consideration of both the provision of services, and the overall health and well-being outcomes for the community and intergenerational equity.
Population projections show distinct differences in projected growth in some age groups in the District's local government areas (refer to Figures 3 and 4). The greatest increase in population is expected in the Parramatta Local Government Area (177,900 additional people by 2036) due to the anticipated urban renewal in the area. Growth is also expected in Blacktown (172,400 additional people by 2036), The Hills (125,350 additional people by 2036) and Cumberland (75,000 additional people by 2036) local government areas.
Growth increases demand on existing services and infrastructure, including sport and recreation facilities that are, in some cases, at or nearing capacity. Integrated and targeted delivery of services and infrastructure is needed to support growth and take account of existing levels of provision and use, while also responding to changing demands over time and in different places. Residents need the right local mix of services, programs and infrastructure to meet their needs.
Facilities can be the focus of neighbourhoods with the co-location of schools, youth and health services, aged care, libraries, community and cultural facilities, parks and recreation. These facilities need to be accessible with direct and safe walking and cycling connections that can be used by people of all ages and abilities. This encourages people to be more physically and socially active, improves health outcomes and enhances the overall liveability of a neighbourhood or centre.
Improving safety, accessibility and inclusion by colocating activities benefits all residents and visitors. When supported by a fine grain urban form and land use mix which provides a greater diversity of uses and users, liveability can be improved.
Creating opportunities for increased shared use and more flexible use of under-utilised facilities such as schools, sports facilities, halls and creative spaces can support growth and respond to the different needs of local demographic groups. Multipurpose and intergenerational facilities are the key to better use of, and access to, infrastructure and services in urban renewal and land release areas.
Publicly owned land, including social housing in renewal precincts, may provide opportunities to co-locate social infrastructure and mixed uses at the heart of neighbourhoods.
Integrated and targeted delivery of services and infrastructure is needed to support growth and respond to the different needs of population groups. Accessible local health services and regional health infrastructure such as hospitals are important for all people across the District. Western Sydney Local Health District focuses on healthy communities through community health services, obesity prevention and promotion of a healthy built environment (refer to Planning Priority C4).
Cemeteries and crematoria are key social infrastructure that also need to be accessible geographically and economically, and reflective of a diversity of cultures and backgrounds. A growing Greater Sydney requires additional land for burials and cremations with associated facilities such as reception space and car parking.
Children and young people
Over the 20 years to 2036, projections show an expected increase of 32,350 in children aged four years and younger, with 34 per cent of the growth anticipated in Parramatta, 32 per cent in Blacktown, 21 per cent in The Hills and 13 per cent in Cumberland local government areas.
Planning for early education and child care facilities requires innovative approaches to the use of land and floor space, including co-location with compatible uses such as primary schools and office buildings, close to transport facilities.
The NSW Department of Education estimates an extra 89,360 students will need to be accommodated in both government and non-government schools in the Central City District by 2036. Blacktown and Parramatta local government areas will each take up 32 per cent of the District's increase in school-aged children, followed by The Hills (23 per cent) and Cumberland (14 per cent) local government areas.
The NSW Department of Education's high-level School Assets Strategic Plan Summary 2017 coordinates planning for, and delivery of, both new and expanded schools. It encourages the joint and shared use of school facilities with local government and the private sector as innovative way to provide school infrastructure. Schools Infrastructure NSW, a specialist unit within the Department, will undertake school community planning and deliver the education infrastructure program, working with other State agencies and community groups to develop schools as community hubs.
Schools help to create and support inclusive and vibrant neighbourhoods. Planning for new schools, and the use of existing schools must respond to growth and changing demand in innovative ways such as more efficient use of land, contemporary design, greater sharing of spaces and facilities, and flexible learning spaces. Safe walking and cycling links to schools encourage young people to be more active and better connect schools with local communities. This can reduce local congestion around schools, improving safety for children and families.
The design and management of open spaces, cultural spaces and the public realm needs to consider the needs of children and young people (refer to Planning Priority C6).
The Office of the NSW Advocate for Children and Young People's NSW Strategic Plan for Children and Young People is the first legislated three-year whole-of-government plan focused on all children and young people aged 0-24 years. It aims to give children and young people opportunities to thrive, get the services they need and have their voice heard.
The Hills and Parramatta local government areas are projected to see the largest increase in people aged 20-24 years across the District between 2016 and 2036 (76 per cent and 65 per cent respectively).
The Central City District provides tertiary and vocational education and training facilities that allow people to gain and refine skills for employment and connect with other people in the community. These include the Western Sydney University campuses in Westmead, Parramatta CBD and Rydalmere, University of Sydney campus in Westmead, and TAFE campuses in Blacktown, Castle Hill, Baulkham Hills, Parramatta, Lidcombe and Granville. TAFEs and universities are employment hubs for knowledge-intensive industries.
State Environmental Planning Policy (Educational Establishments and Child Care Facilities) 2017 recognises the need for schools, TAFEs and university level educational infrastructure with a focus on good design.
A 183 per cent proportional increase in people aged 85 and over, and a 95 per cent increase in the 65-84 age group, is expected by 2036. This means 16 per cent of the District's population will be aged 65 or over in 2036, up from 11 per cent in 2016.
Parramatta and The Hills local government areas have the largest projected growth in the 65 to 84 age groups.
More diverse housing types and medium density housing, as well as the design of walkable neighbourhoods, will create opportunities for older people to continue living in their community, where being close to family, friends and established health and support networks improves people's wellbeing2.
Coordinated and additional health, social and aged care services and collaborative responses across government and industry are needed to meet the expected increase in demand for local aged care facilities and respite services, including home care options (with associated visitor parking). This approach will also need to address care for people with specific needs such as those with dementia and the frail aged.
The NSW Ageing Strategy 2016-2020, prepared by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, responds to the opportunities and challenges of the ageing population. This strategy focuses on five priority areas including health and wellbeing, working and retiring, housing choices, getting around and inclusive communities.
Public places including streets, parks, shopping precincts and community facilities must be designed so that people of all ages and abilities can participate in community life. In addition to the rapidly ageing population, the District includes over 44,000 people with a disability3. Walkable places and homes of universal design are essential to provide opportunities for the participation of all people.
Universal design of places, homes and public transport is increasingly required as the population grows and demographics change. It is a key part of planning for 30-minute cities ensuring that children, young people, people with disability and older people can easily access services.
Neighbourhoods, streets and transport also need to be safe and designed in accordance with the of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.
This focus on accessibility, inclusion and safety when designing and building neighbourhoods, public transport and transport interchanges, places and homes will encourage a greater cross-section of people to lead physically active and socially connected lives. This is especially important for the health of people ageing in community and also benefits people with a disability and families.
Joint and shared use
Infrastructure can be adapted and shared for different uses - school and open space facilities can be used for community, sports, arts, screen, cultural and recreational use when they are not otherwise required. Creating opportunities for increased shared use and more flexible use of under-utilised facilities can support growth and respond to the different needs of local demographic groups. In new developments providing multipurpose and intergenerational facilities can support better access to and use of infrastructure.
There are a number of opportunities for developing a more collaborative city by enhancing shared use of spaces and greater connectivity between residents. These include the occasional use of streets for community events such as temporary markets, basketball and other sports or school fetes.
Joint and shared use of facilities is encouraged to make school assets available to the community outside school hours and to give schools access to community facilities.
Joint use involves a school and a community partner funding shared facilities, such as building and operating a sportsground with a local council.
Shared use is where a school allows community use of school facilities during out-of-school hours.
Each neighbourhood has facilities such as libraries, community centres, adult education, sport and recreation facilities that enhance and promote social connections and networks within the community.
Schools are an important example of these social connectors. Where shared use of these facilities is achieved, its function as a community hub is significantly enhanced (refer to Planning Priority C4).
Joint and shared-use agreements increase opportunities for the community to access facilities and resources and facilitate programs and activities where resources and funding are limited. This is particularly important in urban environments with high land values and growing demand for access to open space and community facilities.
Established partnerships between local councils and the NSW Government for shared use of school facilities in the Central City District include a jointuse agreement between The Hills Shire Council and the NSW Department of Education that enables co-utilisation of a new outdoor sporting field and an indoor sports centre at Kellyville South Public School. Similarly, a joint-use agreement between City of Parramatta Council and the NSW Department of Education enables the upgrading of the existing pool at Macarthur Girls High School to provide learn-to-swim services and limited community access, allowing Council to continue delivering aquatic services while plans for a new aquatic facility for Parramatta are finalised.
In the Western Sydney Parklands, Blacktown City Council has committed to developing a new animal holding facility. The facility could be shared with other councils and will accommodate a growing demand for animal holding services in Greater Sydney.