Press Release:
Live Event to Explore Sydney’s Megacity Future 

Sydney and London: polycentric cities

Thursday March 22 19:00-21:00 (SYD) Bates Smart, 43 Brisbane Street, Surry Hills New South Wales, 2010 Australia

Thursday March 22 08:00-10:00 (LON) The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London, England, WC1E 7BT

Smart Australian city growth requires bold thinking beyond current plans, says leading Australian architect

London: polycentric city

North Sydney, Sydney Harbour and Sydney CBD Credit: Ethan Rohloff Photography and Bates Smart:

Sydney is set to double in population from 4.6million to 9million by 2061. London’s population growth is also set to soar, with projections estimating 11 million people by 2041. How can both cities manage this growth sustainably and what lessons can they learn from each other? This will be explored at Sydney and London: polycentric cities, a live video seminar taking place simultaneously in both cities on Thursday 22 March 2018.

Hosted by Bates Smart architects in Sydney and New London Architecture (NLA), the seminar will bring together architecture and planning experts and seminar participants to foster cross-city dialogue and share best practices.

Sydney speakers include Sarah Hill, Chief Executive Officer, Greater Sydney Commission, and Chris Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, Urban Taskforce Australia. London speakers include Juliemma McLoughlin, Assistant Director for Planning, Greater London Authority, and Stuart Robinson, Strategic Planning Advisor of Commercial Development, Transport for London. Bates Smart Director Philip Vivian and NLA Chairman Peter Murray will act as moderators.

The event is supported by the Mayor of London and is part of the NLA International programme.

This is a crucial moment for global cities to shape their futures by embracing new urban models that capitalise the benefits of expansion. In Sydney, the 20th century model of monocentric core surrounded by low-density suburban sprawl has reached its limits. Congestion, long commutes, inaccessibility of public transport, increasing adverse climate change and decreasing housing affordability are all signs of a city model under strain.

Retrofitting existing cities requires a systemic shift to a low carbon model based on compact, high density, mixed use clusters that are connected to public transport. This is the polycentric city model.

London: polycentric city

City of London Credit: Jason Hawkes Photography:

A bold vision is required to make this shift toward a polycentric model according to seminar co-moderator Philip Vivian, Director of Bates Smart, who envisages high density, mixed-use clusters linked by public transport.

“Sydney needs a vision for growth that will transform it into a global city. It needs to be framed as a part of a greater regional megacity to create a liveable, connected, economically productive and socially inclusive metropolis,” he says.

“Sydney is central to three smaller cities, Canberra, Newcastle, and Wollongong. With a high-speed rail link connecting them, and greenbelts that support density inside the city limits, this could become Australia’s first megacity. Better mobility between these cities will increase connection to employment opportunities, bolster housing affordability and create lifestyle choices.”

Already, the Australian government is investing AUS $72.7billion in public transport in New South Wales to help spur sustainable growth.

“These issues are already pressing. We need to start planning now for a denser, low carbon future that is resilient and sustainable into the next century,” says Vivian.

Peter Murray, Chairman, New London Architecture: “London is often described as a city of villages but it is in fact a city of towns clustered around the capital’s Central Activity Zone. As the population continues to grow we need to improve outer London’s infrastructure and to encourage a wider mix of uses in new and existing conurbations and we look forward to sharing thinking about the future of the polycentric city with colleagues in Sydney and discussing the challenges we both face.”

For more information about Bates Smart please contact Dominique Broomfield or Jodi Smith at Caro Communications /

020 7713 9388