Sydney is set to become three great cities as part of a plan to manage growth and population over the next forty years.

Unveiling its 40-year growth strategy for the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Area, the Greater Sydney Commission has outlined a vision whereby the current city outline involving a singular central core will be replaced by a polycentric model involving three core cities.

First, there will be the current established Eastern City and economic corridors to its north through to Macquarie Park and south to Sydney Airport and Port Botany to Kogarah.

This will remain an economic engine and will continue to be home to financial, business, professional service and start-up sectors, the Commission said.

Opportunities to enhance and improve this area exist through measures such as tackling congestion and the renewal of government owned land near Sydney City, it added.

Next, there will be the developing Central City which will contain the newly announced Greater Parramatta and Olympic City at its heart.

Historically an early colonial settlement with heritage as a critical aspect of its identity, this will be the area where the most significant transformation and urban renewal takes place over the next ten to fifteen years and will become one of Sydney’s administrative and business centres, with the Westmead health and education precinct continuing to grow and lead best practice.

This, the Commission says, will become an important area for advanced manufacturing and innovation driven enterprises, will build its own brand will become easier to access and move around in as planned transport investments come online.

Last month, Greater Sydney Commissioner chief executive Officer Lucy Turnbull suggested that State Parliament could move here by the middle of the next decade.

Finally, there is the emerging Western City, the focus of which by 2056 will revolve around the new Western Sydney Airport and which will drive the creation of diverse and affordable housing, transport, social infrastructure and employment opportunities for citizens in centres such as Penrith, Blacktown, Liverpool, and Campbelltown-Macarthur.

In its report, the Commission says Greater Sydney is home to almost 4.7 million people including 2.4 million workers.

Whilst the city’s current structure involving economic infrastructure and transport centred around Sydney City had served it well, a singular focus around a city centre sitting on the city’s edge rather than in its heartland cannot continue given Sydney’s ambition to become a global city, the Commission said.

Already, it said that the location of many of Greater Sydney’s jobs within eastern parts of the city has created significant capacity constraints, higher levels of congestion, lower rates of housing affordability and uneven access to employment options as the proportion of residents within the city’s west grows.

“Looking to comparable global cities, we know that few are orientated around a single large central business district like Greater Sydney,” the Commission said in its report.

“Instead, leading global cities develop alternatives in terms of where economic activity is located, how it is distributed and how different areas of economic activity are organised. We associate these structures not only with improved productivity, but also with environmental and social benefits, as they allow for more connected and sustainable communities that provide greater opportunities without the need to travel long distances.”

The Commission says Greater Sydney is at a pivotal moment amid the combination of strong population growth and a significant pipeline of investments.

“These moments are rare in Greater Sydney’s history and the ability to grab them is even rarer,” it said.

“We are at a transformational point. We have an opportunity to shift Greater Sydney’s spatial structure in a way that benefits all existing and future citizens.”