WestConnex: Using sustainability discourse to construct a major transport infrastructure project in Sydney

Prof. Phil McManus1, Prof. Graham Haughton2

1University Of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

2The University of Manchester, Manchester, England


WestConnex is a 33km motorway currently being built in Sydney.  By law it has to be sustainable.  This presentation explores how the use of the term “sustainable infrastructure” and the requirement to use specific rating systems enabled the proponents of this project to get it rated as “excellent”, despite many opponents believing it adds to climate change impacts, the destruction of urban heritage and that it perpetuates a culture of automobility.


Phil McManus has a background in urban and regional planning, environmental studies and geography.  He as written extensively (including with his current co-author Graham Haughton) on urban transport infrastructure and environmental concepts. He has recently stepped down as the Head of Geosciences at the University of Sydney after four and a half years.


The Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) is the principal body representing geographers and promoting the study and application of geography in Australia. It was founded in 1958 and since then has promoted, supported and defended Australian geography.

IAG Website

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