Parramatta in the global city.
In 2010 the Metropolitan Plan for Sydney 2036 is approved by the New South Wales Government.
The 2010 Sydney metropolitan plan (New South Wales Government 2010) essentially revises the 2005 plan. (Searle, 2013).
In the MPS2036, for the first time, Parramatta is seen as part of Sydney’s globalised economy and not only as a regional centre. A spatial metaphor, the “global arc” is used to describe the connective spatiality that links Sydney’s CBD and Parramatta’s one (Searle, 2013).
The Global Arc as a discursive strategy
A major corridor element in the 2005 strategy was the Global Economic Corridor, or Global Arc. This was shown as an elongated zone between Macquarie Park north-west of the city centre to the airport and Port Botany south of the city, through ‘Global Sydney’ (Sydney and North Sydney CBDs). The Global Arc was a “corridor of concentrated jobs and activities” that would “remain the powerhouse of Australia’s economy” (New South Wales Government, 2005, pp. 10–11). It was conceived by planner Bob Meyer, who set out the concept in a consultancy report to the state government in 1997 (Meyer, 1997, 2008). He saw that such an Arc should be the location of the majority of Sydney’s ‘global’ and higher order jobs and that this could provide guidance for strategic infrastructure decisions to support these activities, such as the (then) proposed rail line to Macquarie Park. The Arc can be seen as a ‘spatial metaphor’ (Healey, 2007, p. 209), a particular form of relational planning. The multiplicity and complexity of flows and linkages in urban relational space and the problems of capturing these ‘objectively’ mean that symbolic representations such as spatial metaphors constitute subjective constructs that resonate with planners and other professionals and policy makers (Healey, 2007, pp. 205–206). While the non-statutory nature of the Global Arc means that it does not override state or local government planning decision-making, it has nevertheless been used as a justification by both levels of government for intensified development along the Arc (Searle, 2008). In particular, the state government has justified development of the major new CBD precinct at Barangaroo in part because of its location “at the centre of the global arc” (New South Wales Government, 2008) (Searle, 2013:374)
The 2010 Sydney strategy takes the relational elements further. The strategy map is now dominated by the depiction of major nodes and corridor flow lines between them. The main driver here is the integration into the strategy of the government’s Metropolitan Transport Plan, published earlier in 2010, which was a 10-year plan incorporating proposed fully funded transport projects (New South Wales Government, 2010, p. 1). The concept of a connected and networked multi-centred city from the 2005 strategy incorporates a more fully foreshadowed connectedness in the 2010 strategy, derived from the Transport Plan. The strategy identifies improved connectivity as critical to positioning Sydney as a globally competitive city (p. 47). The Transport Plan identified a number of long-term future corridors for investigation. The corridors were designated as multimodal, which introduced a degree of indeterminacy that reinforced the uncertainty of a distant time horizon and the consequent desirability of mapping them as generalised flow lines. The corridors were assessed as critical over the longer term to ensure a compact connected network city with efficient travel options. They would guide the location of transport capacity enhancements (New South Wales Government, 2010, p. 85) (Searle, 2013:374).
Healey, P. (2007) Urban Complexity and Spatial Strategies: Towards a Relational Planning for Our Times. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.
New South Wales Government (2010) Metropolitan Plan for Sydney 2036 (Sydney: NSW Government).
Searle, G. (2013). ‘Relational’Planning and Recent Sydney Metropolitan and City Strategies. Urban Policy and Research, 31(3), 367-378.