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    Western Sydney ‘aerotropolis’ will transform the city, says federal government and experts

    Branko Miletic

    Speaking at a recent Property Council of Australia business lunch, the federal minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, noted that the new airport at Badgery’s Creek, which will be located about 50 kilometres west of Sydney’s CBD, is set to become the centre of an evolving ‘aerotropolis’.

    “Western Sydney airport is set to become the core of the western Sydney region,” says Fletcher.

    “The new airport is set to provide a “massive economic engine that will drive the local economy and push local growth through the roof,” he says.

    At the same time, notes Fletcher, the new airport will drive energy and “the vision of the property sector will be critical to the success of the project.”

    “The value and benefits of 24-hour connectivity have been seen globally,” says Fletcher, who went on to say that both the federal government and the NSW state government “share a common vision of western Sydney’s airport as being part of the vibrant part of Sydney.”

    “It’s a good opportunity to create a sense of place. And while the western Sydney airport is an opportunity to shape western Sydney for decades to come, we should not lose sight of the need to build a sense of placement.”

    “The lesson here,” says Fletcher, “is coordinating a master planning approach.”

    “The airport site is being prepared, and geotechnical work will begin soon, while bulk earth works are set to start by 2018,” says Fletcher.

    Fletcher’s views were reiterated by Chicago-based Diane Legge, vice president of global architecture, planning and design firm CallisonRTKL, who pointed out that for the western Sydney airport to become the core of an aerotropolis, it “needs to be positioned and planned and designed well in advance.”

    “The airport design,” says Legge, “must have enabling transportation infrastructure, while mixed use areas are important to attract and maintain talent and to foster innovation and enhance connectivity.”

    Using her knowledge of a similar scenario of building a second airport in Chicago, Legge says that “The people who live within a few kilometres of this new aerotropolis will be the main beneficiaries,” she says

    These predictions have also been voiced recently by University of Sydney architecture student and Lendlease Bradfield Urbanisation Scholarship finalist Marco Pecora, who says the western Sydney region is looking at an “expected economic boom in jobs over the next two decades”.

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