Developers Bypass DA with Complying Development for Medium Density Housing

CAAN Photo; Example of a Mid Century low-rise cottage in a garden setting … imagine a concrete cavern of a duplex like this nextdoor? Or 10 Townhouses … as previously featured on CAAN Facebook!

CAAN Photo: An ugly oversized development forward of the setback; out of character …

‘The Medium-Density Housing Code’ has been rebadged to be known as the ‘Low Rise Housing Diversity Code’ and the ‘Low Rise Housing Diversity Design Guide’

BECAUSE, if, as Planning Minister Stokes has said that ‘the code allowed for well-designed “missing middle” housing to be determined through a complying development code ‘

LET’S hope this will be ‘a miracle‘ that will wave a magic wand over Sydney because until now we have not been seeing it! But rather massive over-sized fugly developments … built forward of the setback … much higher than their two-storey neighbours … too close to fences … and out of character!


CAAN Photo: Picture this gorgeous low-rise Mid Century cottage with a ‘Manor House’ imposed upon it nextdoor … forward of its setback … up too close for comfort … occupying most of the building block … gone are the trees and garden … and now in shade from something like this Manor House!


CAAN Photo: a new Manor House as proposed for the Ryde LGA. What is missing from ‘the Missing Middle’ are trees and gardens. This one is built onto the street at the side and close to the street at the front. One could imagine design perhaps? Narrow access to underground parking at the rear to impose upon its neighbour …

DATING back to June 2016 we found a proposal from the Planning Institute of Australia for well-designed missing middle housing. The PIA regarded the delivery of a wider diversity and increased supply of medium density housing stock in the right locations as important for managing ‘population growth, housing affordability and addressing future housing needs as set out in their National Housing Position Statement … ‘



The PIA went further to propose that the initiatives should seek to:

-improve the range of housing choice;

· improve design quality;

· reduce approval process time and development risks;

· address affordability; and

· offer incentives to locate denser housing in accessible and high amenity areas.

The thrust of the policy responds to the increasingly diverse lifestyles and housing needs of our major urban areas, including smaller household sizes and an aging population.

TODAY in the SMH Mr Stokes is reported as saying the code allowed for well-designed “missing-middle” housing to be determined through a code for complying development in local government areas previously zoned for medium density!

IT might be a good idea to email your concerns to the NSW Planning Minister and local MPs …



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CAAN Photo: even fugly like this in one of Sydney’s exclusive Harbourside areas … however only 150 dwellings for this LGA. Too bad for the neighbours at the rear could this be too close for comfort?

DESPITE the strong objections from Councils and Constituents …

It’s happened across Sydney wherever higher density has been deemed … this is the second stage … their appetite whet for more …

TO demolish our streets for crap like this …

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CAAN Photo 10 Townhouses 10 X water and sewer where there was one home
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CAAN Photo oversized duplex showing signs of poor workmanship

IN the lead up what it will mean …

THE MOB moves will be underhand … our properties undervalued …

NEXT … wholesale demolitions … asbestos clouds … excavations … jackhammers … tradies trucks pack out our streets … chainsaws too … mud … cement dust … visa workers not trained through our TAFE … latrines on the streets …. footpaths turned into rubble … hazards for pedestrians … conga lines of trucks … cement mixer trucks … concrete pores even as late as 8 p.m. 

THIS is planned for across NSW … no escape …

As ‘Our Families‘ are priced out … note this Report …

‘Major proposed changes to Australia’s Foreign Investment regime announced by the federal government’



‘There are no significant changes proposed to the rules regarding residential real estate’ *

Read more!

As China is alleged to be easing off … enter Millions of buyers … Billions of ‘em from Hong Kong … Malaysia,  Singapore, India … and obviously more Black Money awash in our Real Estate … remember the Real Estate Gatekeepers are exempt from the Anti-Money Laundering Laws (Morrison Govt October 2018) …

BUT … what the Property Sector may find that due to the Pandemic … that international travel will not happen until there is a vaccine … so despite no laws to prevent foreign acquisition … the market may not just be there!

WHEN some believer says ‘Come on … Liberals are good economic managers’ … OR ‘lay off these guys’ … just remind them how good they are …

-and what it has been costing us …

Mr Pants-on-Fire from the Shire was anointed by the Federal developer lobby, Property Council of Australia for the top jobso that the PCA holds the reins of Australia …

He wrote the policy for the PCA before entering politics …

AND in NSW the Mob rule from Macquarie Street … read more:

VIEW CAAN’s earlier report … can’t say we didn’t warn you!

Go-Ahead for Terraces and Manor Houses … so-called Medium Density

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CAAN Photo …

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CAAN Photo: say this goes up nextdoor to a Heritage cottage … or a mid-century home?

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CAAN Photo: And this one on the other side?

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CAAN Photo: only a few years old; staining on concrete; built forward of its neighbours.

CAAN has already spotted concrete cancer among some new large rendered homes! Including a balcony falling apart!

CONCRETE emits CO2 … Search CAAN Website for the report from Jago Dodson.

The carbon devil in the detail on urban density

To Developers Delight!

CAAN has a look at this report today in the SMH: ‘Go Ahead Given for Medium-Density Homes

‘There will be no further delays to the introduction of a code that will make it easier for landowners and developers to build terraces and other medium-density homes, NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes says.’

The Medium-Density Housing Code came into force two years ago but due to widespread community condemnation, and the support from 45 councils deferral was gained until July this year.

Unless the Medium-Density Code has been amended it allowed for as many as 10 terraces on a 600M2 lot!

Meanwhile the property sector High-Rise Developers continue to beaver away for more approvals … and now this! Originally the Spin was that higher density would be addressed by High-Rise Precincts near railway stations … but. of course, they always want more!

-two dozen councils have not completed planning proposals

Adam Searle, Labor Planning Spokesman said this shows a ‘complete disregard’ for communities and councils

-and has called on the minister to continue the deferred implementation of this policy

Planning Minister Rob Stokes is pushing for medium-density housing to meet growing demand for homes.
Planning Minister Rob Stokes is pushing for medium-density housing to meet growing demand for homes. CREDIT:ANTHONY JOHNSON

HAS the NSW Government thoroughly investigated the likelihood of ‘unintended consequences’ for low-density residential zoned suburbs?

Apart from the injustice of developers having been granted ‘Exempt and Complying Development’ which eliminates the community rights of established residents …

Already across Sydney residents have experienced as many as 8 or more demolitions and redevelopments in their street with excavations, concrete pours as late as 8.00 p.m.; tradie trucks parking out their street and neighbouring streets; roads and footpaths dug up, new piping installed … smelly latrines on the edge of the footpath etc, etc …and this goes on for 12 months or more …

And an empty ‘fugly fortress’ 12 months later … and continuing

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CAAN Photo: a duplex; looks like a block of flats

Along with loss of amenity from the new dwelling(s) built forward of the setback, close to the fence and the ‘new home’ looking into the neighbour’s living room …

And consequences from excavations, water run-off, inadequate stormwater and sewers, creating expense for the established residents …

Developers also outbid First Home Buyers

WILL the Berejiklian Government demand the Morrison Government put a stop to the FIRB Ruling allowing developers to sell 100% of ‘new homes’ to overseas buyers? … Obviously this is why despite so much ‘overdevelopment’ a whole Cohort of Australians remain locked out of ‘Home Ownership’!

HOW can the Medium-Density Housing Code deliver a greater diversity of housing supply for Australians both First Home Buyers and Retirees?

-when competing with money-laundering foreign buyers

Read more about the Real Estate Gatekeepers made exempt from AML Laws in October 2018!

Real estate wins another reprieve from money laundering laws

HOW can one have confidence with all the Planning Law changes … and the evidence to date of oversized fugly fortresses … that sympathetic development will ensue?

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CAAN Photo unsympathetic development in low-rise area north-western Sydney

READ MORE from ‘Go Ahead given for Medium-Density Homes’


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CAAN Photo: Townhouse development where there was a cottage and a market garden.

Urban planner infill dystopia bakes us under concrete

A girl uses a shovel to help plant a tree in a suburban street. A number of other people are helping too.

PHOTO: Residents help to plant trees in their Hobsons Bay street as part of Dr Gallagher’s “Cool Streets” program. (Supplied: Gallagher Studio


bulldozing middle-ring suburbs for apartments and townhouses to house many millions of extra migrants

.leaving millions of dwellings behind from whence they came

Urban Taskforce projects only one quarter of dwellings will be detached houses in 2057; down from 55% currently

-Australian cities becoming concrete jungles as trees and canopy disappear contributing to an urban ‘heat island’ effect

eroding all markers of liveability the urban infill utopia causing increased heat-related deaths


Urban planner infill dystopia bakes us under concrete

Leith van Onselen

By Leith van Onselen in Australian PropertyImmigration

For years, the development industry and urban planners have called for Australia’s supposedly underutilised middle-ring suburbs to be bulldozed for apartments and townhouses in order to house the many millions of extra migrants projected to inundate our cities over coming decades:

This transformation into a dense urban form is to be most stark in Sydney, where the Urban Taskforce projects that only one quarter of dwellings will be detached houses in 2057, down significantly from 55% currently:

This transformation will obviously also see reduced access to green space, according to Infrastructure Australia’s modelling, as Melbourne’s and Sydney’s populations balloon to a projected 7.3 million and 7.4 million people by 2046 (see last row below):

An issue conveniently ignored by these planning geniuses is that in addition to eroding all markers of liveability (see above), their urban infill utopia will also make our cities hotter, causing increased heat-related deaths.

With canopy coverage declining across almost every city, researchers have begun sounding the alarm:

Trees in pots lined up in rows outside ready to be planted.

PHOTO: The types of trees planted in cities will matter even more as temperatures rise. (Supplied: Which Plant Where)

Australian cities are increasingly becoming concrete jungles as trees and canopy coverage disappear, according to experts who warn this is contributing to an urban “heat island” effect

It has estimated this can create on-ground temperatures as high as 55 degrees in the sun.

Compounding the issue, a 2017 report by the group, titled Where Should All The Trees Go, found canopy coverage in urban areas had declined in almost every state and territory…

Dr Tony Matthews – a senior lecturer in urban and environmental planning at Griffith University – has been at the forefront, explicitly warning that infill development is driving the heat-island problem:

Brisbane's older suburbs are more likely to have green spaces and leafy tree cover, cooling streets and homes.

Brisbane’s older suburbs are more likely to have green spaces and leafy tree cover, cooling streets and homes.CREDIT:AAP

“Heat stress actually causes more deaths in Australia than all of the other natural disasters combined”…

Middle-ring suburbs were more likely to be the leafy, cool retreats created by postwar architecture and planting

“The real problem comes when we try and increase densities, which we have done in a suburban context through a quality called urban consolidation,” he said.

“And that has been taken up through most of the capital cities, all of the capital cities, in fact.

“It’s squeezing more floorspace out of less land, so that’s why we’re seeing so many apartments, so many townhouses, we’re also seeing a reduction in block sizes from maybe 700 metres or 650 metres to 400 metres.”

Squeezing more properties onto land means there is less room for parks, trees, or anything other than constructed buildings, he said.

The result is dense, urban fringe suburbs with little greenery and houses with no gardens, parks reduced in size as competition for tenancy grows…

“What I feel we have done with these suburbs is we have locked them into a pattern of heat stress, limited outdoor activity, limited use of the public realm, and all of the problems that come with that because they’re not green enough and in some cases they don’t have the potential to be any greener,” Dr Matthews said.

Earier this week, Matthews was among a group of experts that appeared on ABC Radio National to sound the alarm:

A line of houses on a hot day, there are no trees on the street and little greenery in the front yards.

PHOTO: Western Sydney is one of the areas experts say has been hit hard by the “heat island” effect. (ABC RN: Nick Wiggins)

Looking down a shady tree-lined street, some of the trees providing a canopy above the road.

PHOTO: Shade-providing trees, like these in Newtown, can make a big difference to temperatures. (ABC RN: Nick Wiggins)

Urban and environmental planner Tony Matthews says between 2008 and 2017, Australia’s major metropolitan areas cumulatively lost 2.6 per cent of their vegetation — which adds up to an area larger than Brisbane.

Fewer trees — combined with more hard surfaces like roads, pavements, and rooftops — can create an urban “heat island” effect“Cities become artificially hotter” …

Dr Mellick Lopes, an expert in design, says rapid development and population growth in Western Sydney has seen trees lost from suburbs, including many lower socio-economic areas…

The infill utopia of jamming millions more people into the existing urban footprint will necessarily chew-up green space as backyards, trees and open space are removed to make way for additional dwellings. And this will necessarily exacerbate the ‘heat island’ effect afflicting our cities, in turn raising energy use (think air conditioners).

Clearly, maintaining green infrastructure in our major cities is not consistent with the projected explosion of their populations via mass immigration, along with planning rules that force increased population density.

The first best solution to this problem is to slash immigration back toward the historical average, thereby slowing the destruction of green space:

Stop treating symptoms and address the problem at its source.

Leith Van OnselenLeith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.


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CAAN Photo: A case in point with concrete rendered duplex allowing for little yard; nextdoor a post-war cottage with shrubs and trees in a garden

STUDY confirms that DEVELOPMENT contributes to Urban Heat

Doctor Sebastian Phautsch from WSU said:

‘ …. In new housing estates where you have small blocks almost completely covered by houses with black roofs, it means there is simply no space to grow a meaningful canopy. …

The process of developing Western Sydney contributes massively to urban heat. And we know how much growth is planned in this area, particularly with the new Western Sydney Airport and associated Aerotropolis precinct.

Especially with the Greenfields Housing Code and lots as tiny as 200M2 X 6M wide! It’s about greed, isn’t it? As with the high-rise storey upon storey the developer makes a motza! AND having an enormous buyer market to draw from overseas … particularly from China with its 1.4 Billion people.

RELATED ARTICLE that reveals how the property sector draws on ‘expert opinion’ to boost their coffers through overdevelopment …

Study confirms that development contributes to urban heat

NEWS |  Editorial Desk AAU  12 Feb 2020Aerial photograph of the Penrith CBD.1/1VIEW GALLERY

Aerial photograph of the Penrith CBD.

Image: Saberwyn/Wikimedia Commons

Early results from a study of urban heat effects in Penrith in Western Sydney confirm that development contributes to the phenomenon, researchers say.

The 120 sensors were installed before summer in 2019 by researchers from Western Sydney University. The sensors were clustered at ten locations and recorded temperatures every ten minutes, with more than 46,000 data points collected over a five-week period that began on 12 December 2019.

On 4 January the top recorded temperature in Penrith was 48.9 degrees. Doctor Sebastian Phautsch from WSU said that on that day, temperatures varied across the city.

Tench Reserve was a relatively cooler 45.2 degrees on that record breaking day, while St Marys reached 48.8 degrees. The difference between the two places is, one is dominated by green and blue infrastructure, while the other has a high proportion of hard urban surfaces,” he said.

*“Without trees, summer heat becomes unbearable. In new housing estates where you have small blocks almost completely covered by houses with black roofs, it means there is simply no space to grow a meaningful canopy.

Penrith mayor Ross Fowler said the data would be used to inform and justify the city’s strategy for addressing urban heat through planning and design.

“We know anecdotally there can be vast temperature differences across our region,” he said, “But until now, we’ve lacked evidence to support and correlate this. Collecting heat data this summer will help scientifically inform decision making for our city and tackle rising urban heat. Importantly it also allows Council to advocate the business case to industry, the community and government, for doing things differently.

Pfautsch said that the high levels of development in Western Sydney were a major contributor to higher temperatures in the region, and that the massive amount of development planned for the area had the potential to worsen the problem.

“The process of developing Western Sydney contributes massively to urban heat,” he said. “And we know how much growth is planned in this area, particularly with the new Western Sydney Airport and associated Aerotropolis precinct.”

“Unless we execute this with considerations for urban heat at the very forefront of our planning, 50-degree-plus summers will unfortunately become Western Sydney’s reality. The heat difference already measured on 4 January, between Tench Reserve and St Mary’s, is just a precursor of what lies ahead for Penrith.”

*The full data set will be available in mid 2020.



SEARCH CAAN WEBSITE for more Reports!



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LENDLEASE Property Chief Kylie Rampa has risen to become one of the most senior women in the industry: Photo The Australian



PAGE 13 …  we summarise here …

AN exclusive that says the Australian property market is set
for an upturn in 2020 … that credit for housing was becoming easier to get with the end of the Royal Commission into misconduct in the financial sector  … lending is starting to free up … it hasn’t
come back as far as it needs to  … as the banks adjust their processes …

That lower interest rates were a positive for the housing sector

The Federal government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme
would add to demand in 2020

HOWEVER, this Scheme has been debunked! *


AUCTION clearance rates in the high 70s were now rising into
the low 80s … that there would appear to be some momentum building, but not back to peak market conditions …

That the First Home Buyers Guarantee Scheme would provide a
BOOST to the …

‘GREENFIELDS’ New Housing Market … this scheme is all about
filling the coffers of devilopers and this Greenfields Housing Code is for
homes on tiny lots of 200M2 X 6M wide … a third of the size of traditional land lots in Australia … obviously better than a hole in a wall.

ASK why is it since the Liberal Coalition came to power in 2011 that there has been so much overseas competition and inflated prices for Australian domestic housing?

SEARCH CAAN WEBSITE to learn more!

The market in Melbourne would also be assisted by strong
population growth in the city… well above the national average.  What’s new there?

The apartment market in Brisbane was still suffering from
oversupply which needs to be absorbed.

TURN OVER TO PAGE 14 … where the real story emerges …


-the market in Perth was still under pressure with the end
of the mining boom

THAT 2020 would be a year of ‘Rebuilding’ … the office sector
in major capital cities was strong with continued growth in white collar jobs …

Lendlease’s new apartments at Barangaroo have broken property
market records with the sale of a $140M two-storey penthouse at $100,000 per square metre

These apartments were part of a global property market
rather than reflecting domestic demand.

THAT there were strong pools of capital available from OFFSHORE

‘There have been good flows of FOREIGN CAPITAL into the
Australian market’

Some of the capital has been investing here for the first time
and trying to build out their portfolios and investments

She said some of this had come from Japan, where insurance
companies were now allowed to invest offshore.

However, she said ‘she did not see much speculative development
in the Australian property market from foreign investors’


What about that proposed for Sydney’s South West in the
Wollondilly and Macarthur?  With much Chinese investment? 

Dahua and Country Garden, for example?  …

LENDLEASE was keen to get involved in more ‘AFFORDABLE
HOUSING’ … obviously for the Whole Cohort of Australians locked out of the domestic housing market by the ‘Hot Money’ from overseas ….

That continues to be AWASH in Australian real estate

-with good flows of Foreign Capital into the Australian

-the Real Estate Gatekeepers are exempt from Anti-Money
Laundering Laws (Scomo: October 2018)

BE WARNED a nasty precedent has been set by LENDLEASE in
London …

-Londoners were promised affordable, accessible homes for keyworkers but way ahead of them in the queue – two years ahead, in fact – was the international market.

View:  Every Flat in a new South London Development has been sold to foreign investors


View:  LENDLEASE Sues London Council for Scrapping $3.6bn Housing Deal

AND … It’s not easy being green:  Lendlease’s Elephant Park London under Fire for its sustainability claims

Elephant Park london

It’s not easy being green: Lendlease’s Elephant Park London under fire for its sustainability claims




No photo description available.

CAAN Photo: Page 14 The Australian: Housing set for a Recovery: Lendlease


Read more:



An ECOLOGISTs urban sensors show us just how hot Western Sydney is getting

LOOKS like the ‘Western Sydney Burn’ is a consequence of very pooor policies …

WITH high thermal mass from high-rise Precincts … the so-called ‘Smart Cities’ for developers coffers to overflow and NSW INC collecting stamp duty taxes …

Dr Sebastian Pfautsch:

“I wouldn’t be surprised to find 50-plus degrees somewhere in Penrith this summer, because the weather station has already recorded 48.3, and that’s at the weather station site. We could see 52, 53, 54 degrees in some locations, just because of the way that the urban matrix is configured, where you have very little green space, where you have retained heat that helps to accelerate and accumulate heatwave temperatures.”



Cities, places and the people who make them

Dr Sebastian Pfautsch
Dr Sebastian Pfautsch is using sensors to increase our knowledge and awareness of urban heat issues.


Extreme measures: An ecologist’s urban sensors show us just how hot Western Sydney is getting

Dr Sebastian Pfautsch is working with Penrith City Council to quantify temperatures in what is fast becoming one of the world’s hottest cities. His hope? An urgent change in the way we design our cities.


onDecember 12, 2019

Foreground: You graduated from the University of Freiburg, Germany, in 2007 with a Phd in Forest Ecosystem Science.

How does someone interested in forest ecology end up installing heat sensors in the city?

Sebastian Pfautsch: My specialty is understanding trees and their water transport system, and therefore their cooling capacity, in relation to climate change, summer drought and heatwaves. Now I’m using all this fundamental knowledge to apply it to the real world; going out and installing temperature sensors in trees, to compare how different species can help reduce urban heat.

We started with this research looking at tree canopies in early learning centres for kids. We looked at the amount and quality of shade in those outdoor play spaces, which can influence the amount of time you can spend outside. We know that climate change conditions mean that you have hotter summers. That in itself creates a problem when you want to play outdoors, because you have less time available to you; you can only play in the early morning and maybe in the late afternoon, when it’s cooled down again. If you design a play space with no shade or the wrong materials, then you create a place that cannot be used for long. In the morning it heats up very quickly, stores the heat throughout the day and only cools down very slowly in the afternoon and early evening. So you then create a problem on top of climate warming where you have even less time available for the kids to engage in play and exercise.

That small project exploded into full-scale research programs called ‘Cool Schools’ and ‘Cool Playgrounds’. I also look at car parks and all sorts of different locations in urban space where trees may not exist, to find strategies to cool these places down. In playgrounds I measure up to 100 degrees Celsius surface temperature. In car parks I see up to 80 degrees surface temperature. And of course, that layer of bitumen in the carparks has a huge thermal mass and only re-radiates the heat very slowly, contributing to the Urban Heat Island Effect, most notably at night.

“The whole greater Sydney basin is absolutely bone dry at the moment. That means you have very little benefit from evaporative cooling, which has far reaching implications” – Dr Sebastian Pfautsch @westernsydneyu

Foreground: How do trees’ water transport systems help to cool urban spaces?

Sebastian Pfautsch: Evaporative cooling happens during that physical transformation from the liquid state of water to the gaseous state of water. That transformation, which takes place in the leaf, uses energy. This energy is provided by solar radiation. So, when water is transpired from a leaf, the leaf is cooled, and this cooling helps to bring air temperatures down. That is the cooling benefit you get when the tree has water to support transpiration.

Heat becomes an issue in summer, and during this time we also have very little water available. That means trees shut down their transpiration stream to preserve water, so they don’t suffer from what we call hydraulic collapse. The water menisci that span from the roots, where trees take up water from the soil, to the leaves, where they transpire, are like little rubber bands. The hotter the air and the less water in the soil, the harder is the pull. You can stretch the menisci, but if you overstretch, they snap. It’s very difficult for a tree to repair that damage, so for prevention they just shut down transpiration, therefore don’t lose any more water. But for urban space that of course also means that evaporative cooling stops. Shading is then the only benefit that you get.

Now, take the whole greater Sydney basin at the moment. It’s absolutely bone dry out there. That means you have very, very little benefit from evaporative cooling, which has far reaching implications, much more than local shade, as evaporative cooling cools the air and not just the surface. Therefore, evaporative cooling is reaching far beyond your actual tree.

Urban heat accumulates in exposed hard surfaces, such as roads.
Heat accumulates in exposed hard surfaces, such as roads and car parks.

“Green infrastructure is vital to provide a liveable climate for Western Sydney. Without trees, it just becomes unbearable” – Dr Sebastian Pfautsch @westernsydneyu

*Foreground: Is the solution to urban heat problems simply planting more trees?

*Sebastian Pfautsch: No. At the moment, it’s the Premier’s priority to get five million trees into the Greater Sydney Basin by 2030. Well, planting five million trees is very difficult, just to find the space, but keeping them alive to develop a large crown is even more difficult. Then knowing if we run into dry summers, they will just not provide any transpirative cooling benefits. It raises a lot of questions. Just think about what it means to grow these additional trees under the current water restrictions. Every new tree in the ground is super, but tackling urban heat requires more.

*We know that green infrastructure is vital when you want to provide a livable climate for a place like Western Sydney. Without trees, summer heat just becomes unbearable. In the new developments out West, you have blocks that are nearly completely covered by houses with black roofs. There’s simply no space to grow a meaningful canopy. This situation means we need to rethink how we plan, build and live. *

“We could see 52, 53, 54 degrees in some locations in Penrith, just because of the way that the urban matrix is configured” – Dr Sebastian Pfautsch @westernsydneyu

*Foreground: So it’s fair to say you’re less than enthusiastic about the way Western Sydney is currently developing?

Sebastian Pfautsch: Just look into other countries where traditionally you had hot climates. People would never ever put a black roof on their house. It’s just completely opposite from what logic would tell you. I’m doing quite a bit of research using thermal cameras on unmanned aerial vehicles, drones. You can just see these black roof constructions everywhere. It’s a fashion more than any understanding of what’s actually happening to your microclimate when you build like that. The house heats up much quicker, it stores more heat, and because you have no space for trees, there is little natural cooling.

You end up with a large electricity bill because you need to run the air conditioning a lot. As everyone is doing exactly that, the additional heat vented from A/C systems does certainly not help to cool your suburb.

*There is cool roof technology available. You can have whatever roof material you want and then just paint it in this reflective paint that reduces the absorption of infrared radiation. We’re using this type of technology also on roads and car parks these days. So, this stuff is available, but nobody out west is putting it on. *

Foreground: Tell us a little bit about your work with Penrith City Council. What’s driving this project?

Sebastian Pfautsch: Penrith is the hottest place in the greater Sydney area. They only have one weather station available to them, which is out at the Sailing and Regatta Stadium, so it’s close to water plus a lot of open green space. And that’s where the official measurements for temperature for Penrith come from. I know from my previous studies with Parramatta, Cumberland, Campbelltown, that once you move away from those weather stations and you get into urban space, where you have hard surfaces, buildings, traffic, and so on, you have very different temperatures. We saw that you could have discrepancies of up to 22 more days above 40 degrees recorded in urban space compared to a weather station from the Bureau of Meteorology.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find 50-plus degrees somewhere in Penrith this summer, because the weather station has already recorded 48.3, and that’s at the weather station site. We could see 52, 53, 54 degrees in some locations, just because of the way that the urban matrix is configured, where you have very little green space, where you have retained heat that helps to accelerate and accumulate heatwave temperatures. I recorded a heatwave in Campbeltown at the end of last year where you had nine consecutive days above 38 degrees, from the 25th of December to the second of January 2019. And that was last year, which wasn’t an extraordinarily hot summer. But this coming summer might be.

We are excited to get to show some of our research at the Cooling the City Masterclass event. Our research and the event are parts of the larger strategy by Penrith Council to raise awareness around the serious impacts heat has on so many aspects of urban life.

Unshaded footpaths can hold heat within the landscape for long periods of time.
Unshaded footpaths can hold heat within the landscape for long periods of time.

“Once they see the evidence, people will hopefully start to think about what they’re locking themselves into. The way we develop Western Sydney at the moment can’t continue” – Dr Sebastian Pfautsch @westernsydneyu

Foreground: What are you hoping to achieve with your Penrith project?

*Sebastian Pfautsch: To really wake people up, make them aware of the dangerous levels of heat we are already exposing ourselves to, and then use that information to have a go at how we build in the West. Because once they see the evidence, people will hopefully start to think about what they’re locking themselves into.

*The way we develop western Sydney at the moment can’t continue. All of these developments use the same principle of squeezing as many free-standing houses as possible into a limited space.

CAAN: THE Greenfields Housing Code of lots as tiny as 200M2 X 6M wide and the Medium Density Housing Code with as many as 10 terraces on a 600M2 lot! Bigger profits for developers … with a large client base from overseas ,,,

*Sebastian Pfautsch: Where space is very expensive, you chop it up into little blocks. You have very little space left for gardens or communal green space. You have lots of space that you plaster with concrete or bitumen. You provide, for example, walkways in each of those new developments, on both sides of the streets. But nobody’s walking there anymore – it’s too hot!

So why do we need two sides with walkways? Could we just have one, and then make the other green again?

Dr Sebastian Pfautsch conducting field research in urban heat.
Dr Sebastian Pfautsch conducting field research in urban heat.

The data that we collected for Cumberland is already used to inform their master plan and the development control plan. Campbelltown is using the findings from the report that I presented to them for their strategic planning.

I would like to see councils starting to advertise ‘cool zones’, urban areas dominated by green infrastructure. I put this in these reports as a recommendation, to increase public awareness of the cooling value of parks and other green space.

“The fact is we still see a net canopy decline across the Greater Sydney basin, even with all the councils pushing for more green infrastructure” – Dr Sebastian Pfautsch @westernsydneyu

Foreground: So how would we go about getting more water into the landscape in these urban environments?

Sebastian Pfautsch: There’s a big push towards water sensitive urban design and opening up surfaces instead of providing more and more impervious surfaces.

*You can do that for example in carparks and driveways by using compacted sandstone or other porous materials instead of bitumen, which allows water to seep through and become available for plants.

In the middle of streets, you can have green spaces and angle the street towards those green spaces, so that when you have water runoff, it actually flows into the areas where you want to grow plants, including trees. Currently runoff flows to the curb and down the drainage system.

Of course, we very quickly run into problems again when it comes to regulations, because road safety, for example, is a big issue when planting trees. There are certain minimum distances that you have to keep. So it’s very difficult to shade a four lane street with big canopy trees. Yet we know that streets are contributing massively to the Urban Heat Island Effect. These are issues that we need to talk about. We need people to have a solid understanding of the current situation, its complexity, and then start to move towards informed decisions that provide real cooling.

*We want to settle another 1.8 million people out in Western Sydney. There’s a clear conflict for water. But I keep saying we just need to think smarter about how we keep that water in Western Sydney. Sponge city is a nice graphic word for this way of thinking. On average, we still get seven to eight hundred millimetres of annual rainfall in the Sydney basin. Climate change predictions say that this overall amount will not change.

*Now we need to find ways to keep the water where it falls instead of channeling it out of the city. That would mean with 800 millimetres of water available, we can grow as many trees as we want. That’s not a problem. The question is much more about conflict for space. When you want to put 1.8 million people in, where will the space be left for trees? *

We can already see the pressure from development that is exerted on the Western Sydney Parklands or on the South Creek system.

*How we solve this problem is a matter of public demand and also political will, because we know that urban development will make the place hotter. *

Providing canopy will be vital to just prevent the materials themselves – roofs, walls, walkways, streets and so on – from heating up during the day, and allowing the air to cool at night.

We also need to implement water sensitive urban design and be serious about it, not just dibble dabble around here and there. Have a whole suburb that you develop to incorporate water sensitive urban design from the very beginning.

*Urban planners and architects are looking to build very large systems underground that can hold stormwater instead of losing it into drainage systems.

*What keeps us from making it compulsory that every new large carpark needs to use this technology? We have a lot of useful technology available. People need to apply it.

Coming back to trees, it is fact that we still see a net canopy decline across the Greater Sydney Basin, even with all the councils pushing for more green infrastructure.

This paradox situation is the result of development and because of mature trees being cut down on private properties. Trees get cut down, left, right and centre because they’re not valued in the way that I think is necessary in a world with a heating climate. Large trees reduce urban heat by cooling and shading. Let’s get serious in valuing that. Retain large trees and help young ones to develop quickly. As summers will only become hotter we will need every square metre of canopy in Sydney.

Dr Sebastian Pfautsch will be presenting at Penrith City Councils’ Cooling the City masterclass, 18 February 2020. Click here for more information or to buy tickets.




HERITAGE LISTING will reduce house prices: Does Not Check Out!

ASK what lies behind the objections to Heritage Listing …. and one ought question the veracity of the Anti-Heritage Policy advocateson the eve of the Medium Density Housing Code coming into force

AS Mayor Jerome Laxale pointed out Ryde Council’s move to change its Heritage Listing will affect:

less than 1 per cent of properties identified for heritage listing

a review recommended the listing of 44 “items” of historic significance including properties, public parks and street trees and six new heritage conservation areas

only 173 heritage items in Ryde

OBVIOUSLY as National Trust NSW Director Graham Quint said ” … heritage listing can increase the value of properties.”

A Heritage home owner can always sell their home to another seeking a Heritage property to purchase any myriad of two-storey homes

‘Stress and anxiety’: homeowners claim heritage listing will reduce house prices

Andrew Taylor
By Andrew Taylor

December 8, 2019

Property owners say new heritage rules proposed by City of Ryde council will dramatically reduce house prices in the area.

The council will meet on December 10 to decide whether to heritage list a number of properties without the consent of owners.

Scott Mackenzie (right) said the heritage listing of his 100-year-old house could reduce its value by up to $300,000.
Scott Mackenzie (right) said the heritage listing of his 100-year-old house could reduce its value by up to $300,000.CREDIT:KATE GERAGHTY

Jerome Laxale, the Labor mayor of Ryde, said less than 1 per cent of properties within the council had been identified for heritage listing.

“If Council chooses to leave all of these dwellings unprotected, they will eventually be lost forever,” he said.

“With pro-development state planning laws, and on the eve of the medium density housing code coming into force, now is the time to preserve what history Ryde has left.”

But Liberal councillor Jordan Lane said the changes were a “Band-Aid solution” to concerns about overdevelopment.

“There has been enormous opposition to this scheme which arbitrarily imposes heritage conditions on properties, often exhibiting little or no heritage value, without the owners’ consent,” he said.

The council’s move to change heritage rules followed a review that recommended the listing of 44 “items” of historic significance including properties, public parks and street trees and six new heritage conservation areas.

There are only 173 heritage items in Ryde – far less than neighbouring councils such as Parramatta (751), Hunters Hill (515) and Canada Bay (545).

Ryde also has fewer heritage conservation areas than other councils.

A council spokesman said the previous practice of heritage listing properties only with the consent of owners had been superseded – a view disputed by opponents of the proposed changes.


Sonja Morgan said she was faced with a 100 per cent hike in her insurance premium when her home was heritage listed.

‘It was outrageous’: Sonja’s insurance premium doubled when her home was heritage-listed

“Since 2010, Council has resolved to protect a number of items of heritage significance at risk of demolition via Interim Heritage Orders and subsequent listings without the consent of the owners,” the spokesman said.

However, the proposed changes have angered residents who said in a letter to Planning Minister Rob Stokes it had caused “significant stress and anxiety”.

“Residents are insulted that we are referred to as ‘greedy developers’,” the letter said. “We are ordinary hardworking families who don’t want to lose the value of our primary asset, ‘our home’.”

CAAN: VIEW to learn what happened at the Ryde Council Meetingamong the Anti-Heritage Policy supporters were Gung Zhi, Wei Wei Wang, Guanjing Ruan, Silvestor Lauria and Pei Cheng and dozens more!

‘Clashes and Eviction at Ryde Council’

Scott Mackenzie said the value of his four-bedroom house in Gladesville could drop by up to $300,000 if it is given a heritage listing.

Mr Mackenzie’s house is 100 years old but he said it had been extensively renovated twice in the past 20 years.

Mr Mackenzie said a heritage listing would prevent him building a second storey and add to the cost of maintaining his home.

“Heritage is restricting the ability to do what I need to do with my property, to make our living arrangements the best they can be,” he said. “Other residents are afforded this flexibility – why should owners of older properties be restricted?”

The issue of heritage has also divided councillors, with police twice called to fiery council meetings amid allegations a councillor was assaulted.

Independent councillor Roy Maggio said the changes would discriminate against the owners of older homes.


Elizabeth Hetherington said the value of her property had been dramatically reduced after Ku-ring-gai Council listed it as a heritage item.

‘I’ve been put in prison here’: How a Sydney council cost this homeowner $700k

CAAN: Perhaps the price tag of $2M for this Ku-ring-gai property is more about developers landbanking to make a motzer with higher density … they can afford to make such an offer

“What gives a council the right to diminish the value of a person’s biggest primary asset?” he said. “The residents are relying on their home as part of their superannuation plan or to fund nursing home costs later in life.”

But Graham Quint, the director of conservation at the National Trust (NSW), said the listing of heritage buildings and conservation areas enriched communities and was not anti-development.

“In our experience heritage listing can increase the value of properties,” he said.

Tom Forrest, the chief executive of the developer’s lobby group Urban Taskforce, said the the preservation of heritage should not outweigh other consideration such as housing supply.

“Heritage listings should not be a block to progress and also not be used to frustrate efforts to house the growing population of Sydney,” he said.

CAAN: In Sydney we are living with the awful consequences of the Liberal Coalition Housing Supply that was not able to meet the ‘foreign demand’! To lose lovely Californian Bungalows, Federation, and Mid-Century Homes and gardens for the fast-tracked higher density development now replacing them!

Image may contain: 1 person

Photo: new owner sought to demolish soonafter purchase to redevelop

Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor is a Senior Reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.




Unimaginative TERRACE-Style Houses given Green Light for Oran Park

Again a proposal for 131 homes on lots ranging from 200M2 to 350M2 … the Greenfields Housing Code introduced by former Planning Minister Roberts allows for lots as tiny as 200M X 12M wide

-does not allow for tree corridors for wildlife

-nor shade for these homes!

WILL this development proceed prior to the installation of infrastructure?

A precedent has been set about streets too narrow for garbage trucks!

THE Villa World rapid sales of the first terrace houses would not happen to be due to overseas sales, would they? AND if there was not so much overseas competition lots could be a minimum say of 400M2, couldn’t they?


‘Unimaginative’: Terrace-style houses given green light for Oran Park

A $43 million development has been given the green light for Oran Park – in Sydney’s southwest — despite stinging criticism from a former mayor.

Daniel McGookin, Macarthur Chronicle

December 3, 2019

An artist impression of Arena – the approved $43 million development.
An artist impression of Arena – the approved $43 million development.

A major $43 million development in the heart of Oran Park has been given the green light, despite being blasted as “unimaginative” by a former Camden mayor.

*More than 100 terrace-style houses, featuring 131 homes in total, will be delivered on small blocks just walking distance from Oran Park Podium and the future train station.*

The terrace-style houses will be built on blocks ranging from about 200 to 350sq m.
The terrace-style houses will be built on blocks ranging from about 200 to 350sq m.

To be known as ‘Arena’, the project was approved by a Joint Regional Planning Panel on Monday on the back of stinging criticism from Camden Liberal councillor and panel member Lara Symkowiak.

“I think its an overall poor outcome and I believe our future residents deserve better,” she said. “A whole row of flat roofs in the same style is poor.”

Lara Symkowiak.
Lara Symkowiak.

Cr Symkowiak, who voted against the development, also raised concerns about how garbage trucks could manoeuvre through the narrow streets and said the design could have been “significantly improved”.

The development was ultimately approved by the rest of the panel, made up of property lawyer Justin Doyle, town planners Bruce McDonald and Julie Savet Ward, who believed the development was appropriate and would bring housing choice to the region.

A three-bedroom terrace-style house is expected to be priced about $650,000, based on the current market.

Villa World senior development manager Murray Simpson said the company had already built close to 60 terrace houses in Oran Park.

*“The first terrace houses we delivered sold out very quickly which is a great indicator,” he said. “We think they look great and we have received a great deal of positive feedback.”

Mick Owens.
Mick Owens.

General manager of Greenfields Development Company and developer of Oran Park Town, Mick Owens, said the project would take advantage of all the growing suburb has to offer.

“It gives people a different housing choice,” he said. “We are pretty happy with the style of design, quite a lot of thought has gone into it.”

Construction is expected to begin late next year.





WHO is buying? Go figure … when the FIRB allows developers to sell 100% overseas for HOUSING projects of 49 dwellings or less (May 2017 Budget Reg.)

IT would not be difficult to get around such a limitation, would it? Like selling in Stages … 49 lots

MORE about deviloper lobby groups and Masterplanned Communities …

The cheapest lots, priced from $319,900, start at 201 square metres‘ … that is more liveable than 30 storey towers … but shouldn’t it be for AUSTRALIAN FIRST HOME BUYERS … WITHOUT OVERSEAS Black Money competition????

AND … ‘China relaxes capital controls as outflow fears ease‘ April 22, 2018 …

TO free up billions of dollars in Chinese capital to invest in overseas property … as in Australia …

AND … the Real Estate Gatekeepers are exempt from Anti-Money Laundering Laws!

PERHAPS among the sales a small number of Australian First Home Buyers have broken the barrier … the minority who have ‘permanent’ jobs and high incomesnot necessarily Key Workers like Teachers, Paramedics, Nurses, Police Officers, Fire Fighters … the best many of them can hope for is a 5 per cent allocation by a Council for ‘Affordable Housing’ to rent!


Dahua Sells 1000 Lots in Sydney’s South West


*One of the largest landholders of residential land in south-west Sydney has nearly sold out of its $1 billion masterplanned project, with lot sales in the region picking up over the back half of 2019.

Housing developer Dahua Group hit a sales milestone of 1000 lots last month at its “New Breeze” project in Bardia, 50 kilometres south-west of Sydney.

The Shanghai-based developer acquired the 89-hectare parcel of land from Landcom in 2015, lodging plans for a 1264-lot project with a $1 billion end value.

*The group is also developing a $1.5 billion greenfield project across a 364-hectare site in Menangle Park—set to yield 4000 lots on completion.

Take-up rates in Sydney’s land market has more than tripled in some areas since May 2019, with 6-8 lot sales per month in areas with close proximity to railway stations, according to M3property’s Sydney Land Market Recovery report.

“Between September 2018 and May 2019 take-up rates for land averaged 0-2 land lot sales per month, per project stage,” M3property research national director Jennifer Williams said.

Related: Dahua Sells King Street Office Block

▲ Dahua lodged plans for apartment buildings up to 8-storeys and an expanded town centre at its Menangle Park development (pictured).

▲ Dahua lodged plans for apartment buildings up to 8-storeys and an expanded town centre at its Menangle Park development (pictured).

The faster-than-expected turnaround in Sydney’s house prices and improved access to finance has supported the demand for residential land lots.

“APRA’s removal of the serviceability cap and the [continued] fall in cash rates has aided the borrowing power of most applicants,” Williams said.

Williams said that negative apartment market publicity has also upped interest in houses.

“I have no doubt that the apartment market will recover but for now it is one of a number of factors behind a significant resurgence in the take-up of land in Sydney.”

*The growth corridor’s proximity to the Western Sydney Airport and forecasts of 60 per cent population growth to 2036 will support Dahua’s 5000-plus lot commitment to the region, Dahua NSW chief executive Eric Li said.

“Our focus is to deliver sustainable urban developments that meld with the local environment and provide world-class amenities.

“We are committed to building masterplanned communities.”

The cheapest lots, priced from $319,900, start at 201 square metres

.#Dahua Group#Bardia#Menangle Park#M3Property

AUTHOR Ana Narvaez The Urban Developer – Managing Editor