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Where should new housing go?

10 May 2019
We need to talk about Sydney's housing
Sydney is growing rapidly – currently between 80 to 100,000 persons per annum. We held a public discussion and book launch to discuss how we can accommodate Sydney's growing population.

Public discussion

Sydney's population poses important public policy questions of where to accommodate this additional population. Should we try to accommodate much of the growth in inner city areas (a bit like Melbourne) or should we try to change the character of our middle and outer suburbs by increasing densities in those places. And if we do that, should we disperse this additional housing through these suburbs (e.g. by the low-rise medium density housing code) or focus on higher density apartments in or near town centres.

Sydney's harbour


Last night it was our pleasure to invite three passionate Sydney siders to share their views on these important issues.

Tony Recsei

Tony Recsei has is an environmental consultant with a PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of New South Wales. In Australia he has specialized in the decontamination of contaminated sites. Since retiring he has taken an interest in community affairs in trying to protect our environment, heritage, residential amenity and Australian way of life. He is president of the non-profit Save Our Suburbs community group. He has written newspaper and journal articles on planning policies, been a key speaker in seminars, both locally and overseas and is interviewed on radio and television.

Download Tony's presentation slides (pdf, 14MB)

Giovanni Cirillo 

Giovanni Cirillo has been an urban planner since 1991. Giovanni is a passionate advocate of cities and has spent much of his career focused on urban renewal in inner city areas. In 2013, Giovanni established 'Planning Lab', which is a specialised strategic and statutory planning consultancy providing advice on major development projects in Sydney. Giovanni is the former Director of City Planning & Regulatory Services at the City of Sydney as well as a former Executive Director of Urban Renewal and Major Sites at the NSW Department of Planning from 2009 to 2013.

Download Giovanni's presentation slides (pdf, 3.2MB)

Diana Griffiths

Diana Griffiths, a Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia and founding Director of Studio GL, also provided some reflections on the two presentations before we opened the discussion up to the audience.

Book launch

We also be hosted the launch of an important new book Compulsory Property Acquisition for Urban Densification edited by Glen Searle, an adjunct Associate Professor at the University. The issues that the book raises crossover with the questions posed in the lecture.

This book summarises international experiences of the extent to which property rights have or have not been protected in the use of compulsory property acquisition to achieve sustainable cities via urban densification. The case studies from Europe, North America, Asia and Australia show how well, or not, property rights have been recognised in each country. Chapters explore the significance of local legal frameworks and institutions in accommodating property rights in the densification process.