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Save Our Sydney Suburbs (NSW) Inc.
News Release December 2005

Our Latest Salvo

You will be aware that in our fight against the tyranny of the Department of Planning it is important that we can show we occupy the high moral ground. To that end I wrote an article in the June edition of the authoritative Monash University quarterly journal People and Place. The article was entitled Pipe Dreams: The Shortcomings Of Ideologically Based Planning.

In September, in the following edition, Professor Peter Newman who is Sydney Sustainability Commissioner replied to my article with one entitled Pipe Dreams and Ideologues: Values and Planning. In this he accuses us of harbouring irrational fears. I have now responded to him in the December edition of the journal with Rhetoric Or Reality: The Future Of Our Cities.

In this December article I show high-density policies:

Reduce sustainability
Increase traffic congestion
Result in unaffordable housing which is socially unjust

What is more, I also show that the only examples that Professor Newman attempts to offer as instances of successful high-density policies (Vancouver and Subiaco) are not at all successful (he never mentions Stockholm, see the letter below from the Australian Financial Review for the reason.)

I also show that a graph of his that he is always displaying purporting to demonstrate that high-density reduces petrol consumption is decidedly misleading.

Some quotes from our latest article:

In every country there seems to be a group of people who wish to control, meddle and interfere in other people’s lives.

World cities adopting high-density policies have the highest housing costs, with Sydney’s being among the highest (see SMH report below)

With regard to immigration the question is not immigrants as such, it is population numbers. Anyone who is serious about sustainability must consider that any gains made in per capita sustainability at the individual level will be swiftly overtaken if the population increases.

Australians need to ask themselves whether they wish to live under Hong Kong conditions. If not, Australian cities with imposed ineffective high-density centres will be neither fish nor fowl and are likely to suffer from all the ills of higher density without any significant reduction in car dependence.

We keenly await Professor Newman's response.

Wishing all our members a joyful Christmas and a happy New Year.

Tony Recsei

President, Save Our Suburbs

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No reality in high density
Letter: Australian Financial Review 16 December 2005

Your "city vision needs right results" article (Financial Review 5 December) reminds me of the only example put into practice – the 1952 Markelius Plan for Stockholm. This featured high-density centres mixed with jobs located on transport nodes. The attempt ultimately collapsed – the planned relationship of homes to jobs did not materialise. The residents of the centres moved out to mainly single-residential dwellings and were replaced by social welfare recipients and migrants.

How big must the Sydney planning mess become before the high-density zealots bow to reality?

Tony Recsei,
Save Our Suburbs,
Warrawee, NSW

A tale of two Sydneys: affluent versus aspiring

Lee Glendinning
Urban Affairs Reporter

Sydney Morning Herald December 17, 2005

THE stark racial separation of Sydney that seeped into violence in Cronulla has been revealed geographically.

Mapping of the city by the Centre of Population and Urban Research at Monash University shows a high concentration of blue-collar people from a non-English-speaking background in the western suburbs.

There is a "very recognisable belt" symbolised in the intense red regions representing the distribution of non-English-background people around their birthplace, says the centre's director, Professor Bob Birrell. Conversely, regions to the north of the harbour have a very low proportion of migrants with a non-English-speaking background, and those who live there are generally the more "well-heeled" immigrants, Professor Birrell said.

"What has happened is that Sydney is now surrounded by outer suburban areas predominantly made up of the aspirational lower white-collar, smaller businessman building the McMansions through those outer suburbs," he said. "That extends right around the city core. Of course, to the North Shore, there's the concentration of the more affluent migrants - Chinese, more well-heeled, Australian and British. It's a fairly simple picture but it's just so striking."

Academics have been examining what the information revealed in the mapping means for concentrations of lower-income workers and the pattern of settlement for "aspirationals". Encompassed in this mapping are the political and social equity consequences for Sydney.

The president of the anti-consolidation group Save Our Suburbs, Tony Recsei, in his paper Pipe Dreams: The Shortcomings of Ideologically based Planning, said high-density policies were harming social equity in Sydney.

His paper refers to an investigation of housing costs that reveals that world cities adopting high-density policies have the highest costs, and that Sydney is one of the worst. Mr Recsei said the Government needs to provide funds to cater for the necessary infrastructure and employment needed for the "decentralised development" across the country. "The Commonwealth Government must take some responsibility for new arrivals that result from its policies," he said. "It cannot just assume, as it does now, that the states can forever shoehorn immigrants into existing communities."