Heading–  Issues related to urban growth and decline along the foreshore of the inner harbour of Sydney’s CBD

This program focuses on the Geography 5A3 topic Issues in Australian Environments – urban growth and decline, and investigates issues associated with urban growth and decline along the foreshore of Sydney Harbour from Circular Quay to Darling Harbour.

Students will identify a variety of issues associated with changes in landuse along the foreshore of Sydney Harbour and investigate the main geographic processes operating, the perceptions of various stakeholders to issues, and strategies used to manage the issues.

By participating in the program, students will:

  • familiarise themselves with the study area and geographic concepts covered before their excursion using secondary data sources
  • undertake a ferry ride around Sydney Harbour to observe and map different landuses along the foreshore
  • conduct an assessment of five key environmental factors in an area using mobile technologies and water quality testing equipment
  • conduct a survey to gather information about public perceptions for government plans for Sydney Harbour
  • Visit a number of study sites along the foreshore to observe geographic issues, key stakeholders involved in the issue and geographic processes and any management strategies evident
  • Follow up their fieldwork by studying one site in detail, taking part in a game to test knowledge gained during the fieldwork and framing an answer to the fieldwork question.

Through their study, students will gain a greater understanding of the need for ecologically sustainable development along the foreshore of Sydney Harbour.



BDAThe centre gratefully acknowledges the generous support of this program from Lend Lease and the Barangaroo Delivery Authority. Their support has enabled greater access to this program for students in public schools across NSW.

Risk Assessment Pro Forma – Waterfront Workout

Student Previst and follow-up activities

Teacher Resources

Summary of Learning Sites, Activities and Student Outcomes

Learning Site Activity Student Outcomes

Students will be able to:

Fieldwork in Action
In your classroom 1. Pre-visit activities

Background data collection and analysis from secondary sources to prepare for fieldwork investigation


Better understand the study site, stakeholders and processes involved in the fieldwork.

Aquarium Wharf, Darling Harbour


First Fleet Park, Circular Quay

2. Introduction 

Orientation to study area and overview of fieldwork expectations


Recognise the link between pre-visit tasks and the fieldwork program.

Ferry transfer either to Circular Quay or Darling Harbour.


3. Vision with Division

A land-use classification using landuse zoning from the ‘Sharing Sydney Harbour’ plan.


Distinguish between the spatial and ecological dimensions of the study area using mapping skills.


Circular Quay


Darling Harbour

4. Personal Perspectives

Survey of public perceptions about the NSW Government’s plans for Sydney Harbour

5. Environmental Assessment

Use instruments to assess the environmental quality at pressure point/s


Gather and collate qualitative data and interpret the information gathered


Collect quantitative data to evaluate environmental impacts of development in the built environment.

Foreshore trail –


Circular Quay to Observatory Hill


Darling Harbour to Observatory Hill

6. Pressure Points

Identification of stakeholders, geographic processes and issues and impacts at key development sites.


Recognise key stakeholders, urban processes and issues and impacts at individual sites.

Describe management solutions for the issues and impacts observed.

Observatory Hill EEC



 Follow-up back at school

7. Working it Out?

Focus on a specific issue related to growth to prepare for follow-up activities


Synthesise geographical information, communicate a logical argument and reflect on the meaning of citizenship.

Publish a research report to answer the fieldwork question.

Apply fieldwork techniques to develop an Action Research Report for a a local area study.


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