Social sustainability

Social sustainability

Socially just and resilient Sydney

Cities that make equality and social justice central to their growth are stronger and more resilient, creating opportunities for everyone to thrive. 

The City’s social sustainability policy outlines our vision for a just and inclusive city, and our role in strengthening the wellbeing and resilience of our community. Social sustainability is a framework that puts people at the heart of cities and recognises that our personal wellbeing impacts on, and is impacted by, our collective wellbeing.

Improving our community’s wellbeing and resilience involves many aspects of our lives, such as our health, housing, education, work, income, transport, safety, relationships, creative expression, governance, and the quality of the environment.

Building a strong inclusive society is a shared responsibility, not only for governments, but for business and the wider community and is integral to a strong economy and a healthy natural environment.

Our policy is informed by evidence that identifies the City of Sydney’s strengths to be built on and the challenges we should address. It outlines our vision for a socially sustainable Sydney, and articulates the following 10 principles that represent the city for all that we will strive to be.

  1. Sydney is on Gadigal Country: we recognise First Peoples first
  2. Sydney is a just city that respects human rights and dignity
  3. Sydney’s community’s strengths are valued and supported
  4. Sydney is a welcoming, socially connected city that embraces diversity
  5. Sydney is a vibrant city where creative and cultural expression is valued and celebrated
  6. Sydney is a safe and accessible city for people of all ages and abilities
  7. Sydney’s environment supports health and wellbeing
  8. Sydney is a democratic city where people can participate and influence local decisions
  9. Sydney’s governance is effective, balanced and accountable
  10. Sydney is a collaborative city where responsibility for community wellbeing is shared.

Social sustainability action plan

Between March and May 2016, we held a public consultation process involving more than 2,400 people who overwhelmingly endorsed our policy and shared their ideas for Sydney as an inclusive, connected, liveable and engaged city – a city for all. This process included consultation with children about their aspirations for the future of our society – a society they will inherit.

Our next step is to use the feedback and ideas we received to develop an action plan, which will set out the range of activities the City will undertake in collaboration with our stakeholders and the wider community over the next decade to build a strong, resilient, equitable and sustainable city for everyone. It will also describe how we will monitor, measure and report these activities and how they are delivering on our vision and outcomes.

A draft of the action plan will be prepared for Council and the community for further consultation before it is finalised.


Manager, Social Strategy
Research, Strategy and Corporate Planning Unit
02 9265 9333

Last updated: Friday, 25 May 2018