Sydney’s sustainability on show for royal visit

Today I welcomed Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark back to Sydney, with a tour of bike lanes and light rail highlighting the benefits of low-emissions transport options.

Sydney’s sustainability on show for royal visit

Sydney has a special relationship with Denmark, from Princess Mary herself, to urbanist Jan Gehl’s work on our City’s long-term strategy, to more recent partnerships such as 3XN’s incredible new Quay Quarter Tower.

It was wonderful to host Princess Mary and the Danish delegation to celebrate some of the infrastructure and changes in Sydney they have helped inspire.

You can read more about the visit via the ABC or Sydney Morning Herald.

Commissioning Jan Gehl to consult on the City’s long-term strategic plan, which first envisaged the light rail and directed further investment in pedestrianisation and a comprehensive bike network, was crucial in helping the City’s transformation over the last decade.

The George Street light rail has transformed not just how we get around the city, but how we experience it. We have replaced a slow-moving conga line of buses on a dirty, clogged and loud street with reliable, fast-moving mass transit and a tree-lined pedestrian boulevard.

We’re currently finalising our plans to extend the pedestrianisation north from Wynyard, which will see our vision of a fully pedestrianised George Street from Circular Quay to Central a step closer and over 20,000m² of former roadway reclaimed for people.

And having a better-connected network of cycleways is great for our city because it gives people another safe, climate-friendly transport option.

Active commuting can help improve health while freeing up space on our roads and public transport, and creating separated bike lanes means fewer people riding on pedestrian footpaths.

Creating this infrastructure will help us reach our target of 9 out of 10 people working in the city using public transport, walking or cycling, and help us meet our ambitious emissions reduction targets.

The Princess also visited Quay Quarter Tower, designed by Danish architectural firm 3XN, which was recently awarded World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival in Lisbon, Portugal.

Sydney’s latest landmark building, designed by Danish firm 3XN, is an exemplar of sustainable design excellence.

From 2013, City planners worked closely with AMP Capital to realise a transfer of development floor space from the Loftus precinct over to Young Street. This was the first time floor space was transferred between discontinuous sites over a public street in NSW, which increased floor space for the tower, while preserving Quay Quarter Laneways.

Sustainability for the building saw 65% of the former tower’s beams, columns, and slabs retained, as well as over 95% of its existing core, a saving of 12,000 metric tons of carbon emissions.

Taking effective action on climate change has been the City’s key priority for over a decade.

We made the commitment in 2008 to reduce our emissions by 70% by 2030 and we met that target nine years ahead of time.

We have now set the incredibly ambitious target of reaching Net Zero emissions by 2035.

Reducing transport and construction emissions will be critical to that challenge.