October 26, 2021

Western Sydney Aerotropolis is raising the bar – building and designing a new city that is connected to Country and informed by the culture, wisdom and knowledge of local Aboriginal people.

GHD helped to make this happen by developing guidelines which sit alongside the Phase 2 Development Control Plan to support country-centred planning and design requirements for landowners, developers and authorities.  These guidelines provide practical tools to deliver effective outcomes for the community and for Aboriginal people in the Aerotropolis And Western Parkland City.

Jahni Glasby, Senior Social Planning and Community Engagement Consultant, from GHD’s Sydney’s Indigenous Community Engagement team has been an integral part of the team who prepared the Recognise Country: Draft Guidelines for development in the Aerotropolis for GHD’s key client, the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE).

She said it was a complex and rewarding project that puts Country and Aboriginal cultural values first.

We listened to the Western Sydney Aboriginal community to understand their needs. These Guidelines captured what we heard and translates that into tangible outcomes for development within the Aerotropolis,”.

Country is central to the identity and well-being of Aboriginal communities.  The concept of Country cannot be easily translated as the ‘environment’, as Aboriginal people understand Country as a living cultural landscape which relates not only to the cultural group and land to which they belong – it is also their place of origin in cultural, spiritual, and literal terms.

“We hope that these Guidelines will inspire and encourage the built environment industry to consider the importance of recognising Country and support the continuance and revival of Aboriginal culture” . 

Jahni said the document was developed in partnership with Elle Davidson from Zion Engagement and Planning, the Western Sydney Planning Partnership, Traditional Custodians and cultural advisors.

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is working to develop culturally safe practices to ensure caring for Country is embedded in its planning and delivery for projects.