Your digital subscription includes access to content from all our websites in your region. Access unlimited news content and The Canberra Times app. Premium subscribers also enjoy interactive puzzles and access to the digital version of our print edition – Today's Paper.
A pre-approved series of medium-density building designs could help Sydney replicate the great European cities while tackling the local housing crisis in a push endorsed by the premier.
NSW Premier Chris Minns on Thursday said a “pattern-book” approach to planning could help simplify and speed up the housing approval process, while taking inspiration from cities such as Paris, London and New York.
The idea was previously floated by Housing Now, a consortium of NSW business, union and other groups.
Mr Minns suggested conforming designs could be subject to fast-tracked approval under a state government plan due to be released by Christmas.
However, he refused to say what approach would be taken with councils that refused to play ball.
Having a standard series of designs for low-rise apartments would help improve community confidence, consolidate different visions for suburbs and help new builders enter the market more easily, Mr Minns told reporters.
“I think that the pattern-book approach – where you have beautifully designed, dense development that’s done at scale – is a great way of ensuring that we can get builders and private capital into the housing market in NSW,” he said.
“(Builders) can, in effect, go to the shelf (for) a pattern or a building that is widely desired and liked by the citizens of NSW and get fast-track approval for it.
“I think it’s the future of NSW.”
Mr Minns said low-rise, three- to four-storey apartment blocks used to be a major feature in Sydney, but they had all but disappeared in favour of high-rise residential blocks.
Former Labor housing minister David Borger, who fronts the Housing Now group and is executive director of Business Western Sydney, said the best-loved older parts of cities were often pattern-book housing.
“(They include) the Victorian terraces of Paddington, the art deco flat buildings of Coogee, the federation houses of Haberfield,” he said.
“They were all a limited number of designs that were replicated and reproduced ad nauseam.
“It was cookie-cutter, but it was a cookie that people loved to watch and eat.”
The group has been in talks with the government, but Mr Borger said it was also important for the public to have their say.
“The public want more housing, it’s the biggest challenge facing them, but they also want to be consulted over design as well,” he said.
Having put councils on notice that his government could take a more active role in approving developments, the premier accused the previous government of placing the blame solely on slow-moving bureaucracy.
“The truth of the matter is that the planning powers that are required to push through development, particularly density development close to the CBD, already exist,” Mr Minns said.
Australian Associated Press
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
We care about the protection of your data. Read our Privacy Policy.