Australia is standing at the cusp of urban transformation as voices rise, calling for the development of new cities to alleviate the pressures of housing affordability, congestion, and quality of life. BC Land, an innovative development company, contends that the expansion beyond existing metropolises like Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide — ranked in the top 15 for ‘least affordable’ housing markets globally — is crucial for the nation’s growth and prosperity.
Nils Miller, CEO of BC Land, highlights the urgency of the situation, stating, “Rather than pushing for affordable housing in our existing cities, we should also be looking at developing whole new cities.” Miller’s vision extends beyond the mere addition of housing stock to a grand reimagining of urban life, with new cities being centered around specialist offerings that attract businesses and employment hubs — much like the evolving ecosystem around the Western Sydney International Airport.
This new airport, the largest logistics hub in Australia and curfew-free, is fast becoming a centerpiece for modern urban planning, armed with its own three-letter code ‘WSI’ from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). It’s expected to handle over 25,000 domestic flights and four million passengers annually once operational in 2026. Already, developments like the Bradfield City Centre, slated to be a green, connected hub for advanced industries, are signs of this transformative approach.
Reflecting on the upcoming Western Sydney Airport’s potential, Miller shares the breadth of impact such developments can have, “The businesses being developed around the new airport started out being centred around aviation-focused, but was now attracting a wider set of support businesses a little further out from the centre of the hub.”
The impacts of these new urban centers could reach far and wide, not only within Western Sydney but also across Australia. Cities could spring up, focused on value-added processing of rural produce and minerals, echoing the growth of existing towns like Gladstone and Townsville in Queensland. This innovative approach to city development could lead to Australians enjoying more affordable housing choices, better work-life balance with reduced commuting times, and an overall enhanced quality of life — a concept that resonates with the increasing need for efficiency and sustainability in the urban landscapes of the future.
Miller notes, “It is this value-adding that can see new cities beyond what has traditionally developed in regional and rural Australia – along with people wanting lower property prices and to live 30 minutes or less from their place of employment.”
There’s a burgeoning interest in the area around Western Sydney International Airport, as BC Land’s 35-hectare employment hub near the airport is seeing promising progress, with more than 50% of the airport’s construction already completed. The site is poised to attract businesses in freight services, logistics, light manufacturing, and other aviation services, spurred on by the strategic commitments of companies like Qantas.
As Miller anticipates a rise in residential developments to meet the demands of a growing employee base, one can’t help but be hopeful for this vision of a network of new cities in Australia. The blueprint for this future is steadily unfolding at Badgerys Creek and as Miller insightfully puts it, “We believe Badgerys Creek can be the start of what will be a future of this happening in Australia as the population keeps growing and the cities becoming too congested.” With a blueprint in place and a progressive mindset, the development of new cities could very well be the answer to Australia’s urban challenges.