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Insights to help shape our cities

People at the heart of our cities

Our cities are living things, constantly growing and evolving. They are the sum of their many parts, both tangible and intangible. And at the heart of every city is its people. That means a city thrives when it is an inclusive environment, when these people feel connected to each other, to their community, and to their built environment.

Our cities are not made up of a single, homogenous urban region. To succeed, they must reflect the diversity of our communities and their needs. They must provide opportunities, places and services for all citizens to live, to work and to play.

Creating those opportunities starts – and continues – with the many strategic, planning and policy decisions we make in relation to our cities. For our citizens, those decisions create very real outcomes – things like how affordable housing is, how accessible jobs, schools and hospitals are; and what entertainment or cultural activities exist within a particular area.


Introducing CityPulse

CityPulse provides a national dataset that looks at our cities across three simple measures – live, work and play. To effect real change, PwC is taking a data-driven approach that will provide insights into how our cities function. CityPulse establishes a considered, independent baseline for conversations with government, the private sector and the community on how we work together to maximise the opportunities in each city.

CityPulse goes beyond the economic opportunities that exist in each area to the other things like the availability of the services we need, and the other facilities we like to use. Together, the three factors - 'live', 'work' and 'play' - offer a unique perspective of the city and let us look at it in the context of what makes it truly liveable.




A well-functioning city is one where people feel safe, comfortable and able to access the services they need. ‘Live’ measures the overall amenity of a locality based on factors such as housing affordability, crime rates and access to services such as health care and schools.



Does a city provide its residents with economic opportunity through access to viable employment options? ‘Work’ assesses a range of economic factors such as business activity, employment rates, access to jobs and economic performance.


To make a city truly liveable, it needs to provide ways for people to connect, explore and recharge. ‘Play’ measures aspects of the locality that make it an appealing place for leisure activities such as entertainment, dining and cultural or sporting activities.


The CityPulse difference

Data findings are output by geographical area (SA2) allowing us to make comparisons within the city - ultimately letting us tell a story for the city. By correlating the data findings with PwC's local knowledge and insights from all areas of expertise we can see how the city has developed, what urban patterns and behaviours have formed and why, what issues this has brought - only then can we start to consider how we are going to solve these problems.

Unlike most other indices, CityPulse is not intended to make comparisons between cities nationally or globally. The real point of difference lies in using ‘live, work and play’ to create a comprehensive intracity comparison, then overlaying that with PwC expertise to ultimately lead to the development of more functional, more productive and more liveable urban spaces.

By understanding what currently exists, everyone can be part of the discussion about how we are going to shape our cities into the future. Those conversations start with CityPulse.


Smart data for a different view of our cities

CityPulse uses data collated from a wide range of sources to calculate a list of measurable indicators down to an SA2 level (ABS statistical area roughly the size of a postcode).
To ensure the outputs are based on real-world scenarios, the data takes into account granular factors and the relationships between them, such as peak and off-peak journey times by public transport and road, and the number as well as the proximity of places within a school or beds in a hospital.

As CityPulse is based on a range of data sources it focuses on general access and availability and does not currently take into account the demographics or preferences of local residents.

Accessibility measures are based on 30-minute drive time and 30-minute transit radius from each SA2. This is an important element of CityPulse: accessibility defines our experience of a city and affects our quality of life. As explained in The geography of time, report when people are freed from the commute, they start spending their time budget on other things. They see more friends and spend more time with family. They invest more time on education, leisure or keeping fit. They take the job that makes them feel more satisfied and stimulated. They become more productive. This city, the 30-minute city, has more social cohesion, stronger social capital and a happier, healthier population. 1

Once the indicators have been calculated, we weight and combine them into thematic groups to calculate a mid-level ‘metric’ score. These metrics are then themselves weighted and combined to give the headline category scores of 'live', 'work' and 'play'.

Importantly, the results are assessed by our local experts in each city to ensure the output reflects the reality of that location.

Explore CityPulse Victoria

Explore CityPulse Perth

Explore CityPulse Sydney

Explore CityPulse Adelaide

Explore CityPulse SEQ

Contact us

Alastair Pearson

Partner, Integrated Infrastructure, Infrastructure Advisory - Data & Analytics, PwC Australia

Tel: 612 8266 5345

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