Ku-ring-gai, New South Wales: A Battleground between urban consolidation and green amenity
In recent decades, the New South Wales State government in Australia has strongly shifted its urban policies towards residential consolidation. This means increased population densities throughout Sydney and its suburbs, prompting battles initiated by frustrated local communities and their elected local government authorities. This article examines the origins and development of planning law in New South Wales, encompassing green amenity. Ku-ring-gai Council in Sydney’s leafy northern suburbs provides a pertinent case study. It presents a “hot bed” of both ongoing New South Wales Government pressure for high-rise apartment buildings and fierce community backlash. Suburban densification raises concerns such as social impact, biodiversity loss and disappearance of environmental heritage. In addition, the opportunity for community input in the planning system is questionable. Ku-ring-gai is widely known for its well-resourced citizens who are eager to confront the heavy hand of the State government and retain their gracious homes and established gardens. On the other hand, if Sydney is to restrain urban sprawl and forge ahead with urban consolidation, should Ku-ring-gai remain as an island protecting its “green jewel”, or accept greater densification?