The problem with overcrowding in our cities is not a problem of over-population, according to Dr Cole Hendrigan. It’s a problem of cars.

Dr Hendrigan came to SMART last month after a career that took him all over the world, but mostly recently to Western Australia.

It was there that he helped devise a plan for urban consolidation around transport corridors that has since been incorporated into State Government planning.

“It is not clear yet how this is going to happen in NSW,” Dr Hendrigan says.

“We have to be asking ourselves where this density is going to happen, how much more dense do the well-connected urban areas need to be to make viable high capacity trains and buses, or even walkable routes.”

Dr Hendrigan was invited by SMART director, Senior Professor Pascal Perez to work on the Future Cities project.

He says for decades, cities such as Sydney and Wollongong have developed ad-hoc, with plenty of reports but little coordinated action.

“It’s been analysis paralysis in Sydney for decades, until recently, and the issues of inaction from Sydney is now cascading down to Wollongong.

“It’s not true that Sydney is full. It’s just that the city has too many cars. It’s a car problem, not a people problem.”

Dr Hendrigan has more than 10 years’ professional experience as a transport planner, landscape architect, strategic urban planner and urban designer.

After studying in his native British Columbia, he gained his doctorate from Curtin University in Western Australia on polycentric urbanism to transform cities that are dependent on cars.