High-rise schools an expensive failure

By Leith van Onselen

The destruction of Sydney’s residents’ living standards from endless immigration-fuelled population growth is well documented.

As the city’s population has ballooned by 960,000 people over the past 13-years, we’ve seen traffic congestion worsen immensely:

And housing affordability deteriorate to levels that are amongst the worst in the world:

The crush-loading is also projected to worsen as Sydney’s population balloons toward 10 million people by 2066:

Infrastructure Australia projects worsening traffic congestion, as well as reduced access to jobs, schools, hospitals and green space regardless of what urban form Sydney takes:

The Urban Taskforce also projects that Sydney will transform into a high-rise ‘battery chook’ city mid-century, whereby only one quarter of all homes will be detached houses:

Last year, parents were told by the NSW Education Department that Sydney’s children would have to get used to being educated in Asian-style high-rise schools:

PARENTS need to get used to sending their children to high-rise schools with playgrounds on the roof — just like they do in Asia.

The state’s education boss said that is the new reality as… NSW tackles the increased demand for school places in Sydney…

“High-rise schools aren’t unfamiliar around the world. In fact they are very common in big cities, not just in Asia but in London and New York…

Mr Scott said that could ­include an oval being in the surrounding area, not inside the school gates…

However, now the NSW Government has backflipped on its high-rise school push, admitting that they are a costly failure. From The SMH:

Education Minister Rob Stokes said vertical schools were no longer a “preferred” option because they were complicated to build, less adaptable to students’ changing needs and expensive to operate…

The first high-rise school, Arthur Phillip High at Parramatta, was supposed to open this coming term but has been delayed until at least term four after a problem-plagued construction. The cost, which includes neighbouring Parramatta Public School were originally estimated to cost $100 million, but has blown out to $325 million

The state’s newest schools needed to be flexible and sustainable… but that was more difficult to achieve in high-rise buildings, he said…

“You don’t have the same flexibility as you do when you can move spacially outward. When you are going up and down you are locked in once you’ve built it,” Mr Stokes said. “Access to open space is obviously problematic in high-rise buildings…

Let’s be real for a moment. Under the ‘Big Australia’ mass immigration policy, Sydney is facing a future whereby only the wealthy elite will be able to afford to live in a detached house with a backyard, and only their children will be able to attend schools with green ovals and playing fields. Ordinary workers and their children, by contrast, will be crammed into high-rise apartments and schools.

Is this really the future we want? One where Australia’s once famed quality of life is jettisoned for Asian-style high-rise?

It’s time for voters to decide whether they want a ‘Big Australia’ of 40-plus million, and a Sydney and Melbourne of 10 million each. Let’s have a plebiscite on Australia’s future population.

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