Delivering design excellence and quality development

Under the leadership of Clover Moore and the Independent Team, the City has approved $25 billion in high quality development, while delivering excellent design outcomes, preserving heritage and providing quality community facilities for our growing community.

Delivering design excellence and quality development

The City of Sydney has completed the most comprehensive planning review of the City’s development controls, which to allow greater height without impacting amenity and ensure we responsibly meet State Government prescribed housing and job targets. We balance development with investment in infrastructure projects, community facilities and public domain improvements.

We pursue design excellence for all development - which is significant, considering the City of Sydney’s unprecedented development boom is expected to continue over the next decade.

In 2019, the City approved $3.6 billion of development. We’ve consistently been in the top 10 fastest for development application assessment times, while processing the highest value and some of the highest numbers of complex applications.

Balancing development with community facilities

In May 2018, the City approved a $1.6 billion dollar infrastructure program of over 430 projects to be constructed over 10 years, to meet the needs of new residents, while generating tens of millions of dollars in new jobs and business. We use infrastructure value sharing and development contribution plans to ensure developers contribute to open space, public domain and community services.

Green Square urban renewal area is now home to over 30,000 of an expected 61,000 residents and 20,000 local jobs. $8 billion of development, including $800 million for a new town centre was budgeted for the project. In 2018, we opened the Joynton Avenue Creative Centre, the award winning Green Square Library and Plaza, parks and an innovative water recycling centre. The town centre will soon be home to the Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre, sports fields and community facilities.

The City of Sydney is one of the few local government areas in NSW to meet the housing and jobs targets it has been set by the NSW Government. The City continues to invest in affordable housing, 835 affordable homes have been delivered with another 956 in the pipeline.

Excellent design

Our design excellence is recognised internationally and critical to Sydney’s competitiveness and liveability. That’s because our Design Advisory Panel of independent experts provides advice on major applications and our own public projects, and our development controls mandate solar access, cross ventilation and natural ventilation, windows to rooms, private open space and storage space.


The City has advocated for community-focused development in areas outside our planning control.

We stood with Pyrmont residents, and the architectural, design and planning communities to oppose the Star Casino’s 237 meter residential and hotel tower, and welcome the IPC’s recent recommendation that the proposal be refused, which is a win for the integrity of the planning system, the community and fairness.

The City is opposed to the State Government’s proposed over-development of the Waterloo Social Housing Estate into high density private housing with little social and affordable homes. We developed an alternative proposal that demonstrated good urban design and planning, with proposed 50 percent social housing, 20 percent affordable housing, and 30 percent private housing and to include dedicated affordable housing for the Aboriginal community, and we are committed to working with the State Government have this alternative proposal implemented.

As Lord Mayor, I have worked with the Lord Mayors of Australia’s other capital cities to ensure that Australia’s housing affordability crisis is addressed. Together, we have put forward a strong case for the Federal Government to invest in social and affordable housing as essential infrastructure.