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This futuristic, elaborate new city is sparking fascination in potential residents — and also plenty of controversy

"This is one of the most unique opportunities that we have in the world."

Bradfield City Centre, Australia's new city

Photo Credit: iStock

Bradfield City Centre, a new city under construction west of Sydney, Australia, aims to create a carbon-neutral, sustainable urban environment as a response to increasing temperatures in Australia.

What is Bradfield City Centre?

Bradfield City Centre is a modern urban development project located 35 miles west of Sydney's central business district. The new city is part of the wider Aerotropolis, an area covering about 27,000 acres, and is situated next to a new international airport set to open in 2026. 

With more than $668 million of government funding ($1 billion AUD) and additional investments from international firms, the center will host technology companies, colleges, apartments, and houses.

Why is Bradfield City Centre important?

The significance of Bradfield City Centre lies in its environmentally conscious design and its potential to create jobs and economic opportunities in western Sydney, a region with a growing population of around 2.5 million people.

To counter the challenges posed by warming temperatures — summer temperatures recently hit 120 degrees Fahrenheit — the center has been designed to be carbon-neutral, with tree-lined streets and sustainable construction practices. 

"This is one of the most unique opportunities that we have in the world to create a city from scratch, from a clean slate, but also on the doorstep of an existing global city,"  Sarah Hill, the chief executive of Western Parkland City Authority, who is overseeing the development, told Bloomberg in April 2023.

How Bradfield City Centre mitigates climate impact

Bradfield City Centre's sustainability targets are being monitored throughout the planning and construction process. The city will use 100% renewable energy sources, including solar, wind, hydrogen, and bio-energy, and integrate water treatment to minimize waste.

Building applications must include provisions to reduce the impact of heat on the surroundings, such as light-colored roofs, among other measures.

Challenges and controversies

Despite its ambitious goals, Bradfield City Centre faces various challenges, such as environmental concerns over deforestation, soil loss, and the endangerment of native animal and plant species. 

Professor Tooran Alizadeh, who leads a research team examining the new urban development, told Bloomberg that the loss of greenery over the years "makes this area very vulnerable to climate change."

The project has also faced scrutiny over its consultation with Indigenous peoples. Controversy arose when it was announced that the city would be named after engineer John Bradfield rather than using an Indigenous word. This issue highlights the ongoing tension between honoring Australia's Indigenous history and its drive for modernization.

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