The scenic and cultural landscapes of the Western City District contribute to the identity and international profile of Greater Sydney. Scenic and cultural landscapes encourage an appreciation of the natural environment, protect heritage and culture, and create economic opportunities, particularly for recreation and tourism. Aboriginal culture is deeply entwined in the landscapes of Greater Sydney.
Scenic and cultural landscapes can complement green infrastructure, particularly where scenic landscapes include waterways and urban bushland. Scenic and cultural landscapes can often be prone to natural hazards, for example escarpments can be prone to land slip and erosion.
The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area is internationally recognised and celebrated for its beauty and for the history of human interaction with its landscapes. Images of the Three Sisters and the escarpments of the Blue Mountains have become symbols of Greater Sydney as a green city within a magnificent landscape.
Other scenic landscapes in the Western City District, including the Western Sydney Parklands, Mulgoa Valley, the Bargo and Nepean River gorges, the Razorback Range at Picton and the Scenic Hills between Campbelltown and Camden, and the rural hills and ridgelines of the Camden and Wollondilly areas, create a distinct setting for neighbouring urban communities. Within the District's growth areas, vistas to historic colonial-era homesteads have been protected through the planning and design process.
The Wollondilly, Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury local government areas benefit from substantial areas of protected national parks, rivers and creeks, and water catchments that provide outstanding landscapes and views. Rural towns and villages in the valleys and plains to the east of the national parks are set between a series of hills and ridgelines that are special to the District's character and identity.
Ridgelines are highly valued elements of scenic landscapes, and development should not diminish their scenic quality. Retaining or creating vistas along new east-west road links in growth areas could take advantage of views to the escarpment of the Blue Mountains to the west and to the ridgelines of the Western Sydney Parklands and Scenic Hills to the east and south east. Similarly, the flatter and drier landscape of the Cumberland Plain could feature scenic waterway crossings to improve liveability and emphasise connections with the natural landscape.
Continued protection of the Western City District's scenic and cultural landscapes is important for the sustainability, liveability and productivity of the District. It can complement the protection of biodiversity and habitat, help manage natural hazards and support tourism. Protecting scenic and cultural landscapes can also help preserve links to Aboriginal cultural heritage.