The new NSW Premier is hell bent on adding housing on top of new super rail stations.

This is a topic that has come and gone over the last 20 years in the Waratah State, and after all this time, it may finally happen!

In Victoria there was much talk of developing over and near the Heyington Railway station – and what a spot that would be – but the dream fizzled out.

The air space over railway lines and stations is valuable but it is sitting idle. Rail stations can serve as community hubs in many suburbs where little villages grow into retail strips.

It would bind the community and allow locals to invest in businesses practically right in their backyard.

Chatswood in NSW is a classic example of using this air space with highly successful commercial and mixed use spaces built over the railway station.

In many countries, including Japan, hotels are perched over rail stations, making it extremely easy for travellers to get to their hotel fast and with ease. That’s just common sense.

We obviously missed the boat at North Melbourne, where a successful mixed use development could have been located over the new rail station.

There is talk of adding  many thousands of apartments over these new NSW super rail stations, and despite the “not in my backyard” objectors voicing their concerns in community groups, there can be no doubt that these apartments, once built, will ease the broader chronic housing shortage.

One only has to see the public housing blocks located strategically near rail stations and tram lines across Melbourne. That is what affordable housing has to satisfy: good connections to transport hubs and tram lines where invariably a small village shopping strip eventually emerges.

It’s high time we started using these air spaces for housing instead of simply allowing good, usable space to remain barren.