City Futures Research Centre Arts, Design and Architecture

Water and Energy Profiles for Sydney: Towards Sustainability

This two-year research project will address the critical problem of urban sustainability. The sustainability problem in Australian cities arises in large part because urban management systems have failed to account for the way that the built environment affects water and energy consumption patterns. This research will yield new understanding of the nexus between built environment composition, socioeconomic factors and ecological “load”. This knowledge will inform changes to urban management systems that will enhance their environmental efficiency and effectiveness. The project builds on a 2001/2002 Adelaide pilot study that successfully tested the data sources and methods proposed for this investigation.

The project aims to measure the water and energy profiles of a selected sample of “typical urban areas in Sydney” and to assess the contribution off different built environment and socio-economic characteristics of their population to the water and energy demands. The study will also provide Australian urban policy makers and urban analysts with a new environmental data resource that can be maintained and updated beyond the life of the research project as well as an analytically based way of testing the sustainability of alternative development scenarios.

The findings of the research will inform changes to urban management systems that will enhance their efficiency and effectiveness in regulating the environmental impacts of cities.

Final Report:

The Environmental Impacts of Residential Development: Case Studies of 12 Estates in Sydney
B. Randolph, D. Holloway, S. Pullen, and P. Troy, March 2007

Research Paper No. 1 is now available to download:

Water Use and the Built Environment: Patterns of Water Consumption in Sydney Bill Randolph, January 2006

Download map:

Estimated average annual per capita water consumption for CE in urban Sydney, 2001


Professor Patrick Troy,
Chief Investigator

Funded by