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CityPulse Adelaide

Setting sail toward Adelaide’s prosperity

CityPulse Adelaide reveals that our city's liveability and accessibility are its defining characteristics. Through a detailed set of insights, CityPulse helps us understand how our city lives, works and plays. It gives us an understanding of how we must think about planning for growth and the future for the benefit of residents right across the city.  It combines data from a range of sources to support a detailed, evidence-based geographic analysis that can guide planning to future-proof our city.

Understanding what makes people choose to live, work or play in a particular community provides invaluable information to support decisions around reform and targeted investment to improve the liveability of our city. Armed with CityPulse data, we can challenge our thinking about how we can continue to develop Adelaide to ensure it meets our needs both now and into the future.

With the Australian Government’s naval shipbuilding commitments, South Australia has incredible growth opportunities on the horizon, particularly around Port Adelaide and the surrounding western and northern suburbs. However, to make the most of this we must ensure the right plan is in place to maximise the opportunities for a more prosperous future. 

It is vital that we have a coordinated strategy, involving all levels of government, industry and the community, that considers the opportunities around future transport, supply chain infrastructure, community infrastructure and the characteristics of our city that will attract future generations to make Adelaide their home.

Learn more about CityPulse

Discover what parts of Adelaide are the best for you to live, work and play

City averages




Above average Below average Low population
Your budget for housing:


Which best describes you?
How do you usually get around?

Outside work



What kinds of amenities do you like to access in your spare time?
Rarely Sometimes Often
Open space inc. national parks
Culture and attractions
Rarely Sometimes Often
Bars and dining
Sports and fitness facilities

PwC’s CityPulse assesses how each area performs against each of the three 'Live, Work, Play' metrics and is based on a range of data sources; examples under the category of Live include data relating to hospital accessibility, crime rates, and housing affordability. CityPulse focuses on general access and availability and does not currently take into account the demographics or preferences of local residents. Learn more about our approach.

Key findings on Live

  • The strong ‘live’ results for Plympton, Goodwood, Paradise and Windsor Gardens demonstrate the enormous value light transport options such as trams and the O-Bahn have delivered to enhance accessibility. Adelaide is a very accessible city, but there is a clear opportunity to enhance light transport options.  South Australia’s current Integrated Transport and Land Use Plan recognised the value of improved public transport, including light transport options.  However, as this plan was released in 2015, there is value in revisiting it to fully consider the impact of the future shipbuilding program and the potential population growth for Adelaide.
  • Areas such as Plympton, Richmond, Paradise and Windsor Gardens perform very well against the Housing Affordability metric, whilst also being strong in Health and Amenities.  This demonstrates the great potential for Adelaide and its attractiveness for a future workforce as there are so many highly liveable areas, close to facilities and where there are affordable housing options.
  • There is a clear challenge to consider what policy and planning decisions can bring about long-term benefits for the north western suburbs and areas surrounding Port Adelaide so they are attractive places to live for our future workforce.  Many of these areas (with the notable exception of West Lakes) perform below average on housing affordability, largely due to high levels of welfare dependency that lead to higher ratios of rent and mortgage payments compared to income.  They all perform below average on accessibility to key amenities (e.g. schools, child care and aged care).

Key findings on Work

  • Results for ‘work’ are above average in a greater proportion of Adelaide than in other cities. In particular, the job accessibility metric is far more even across the metropolitan area and this is likely a reflection of how easy it is to commute. 
  • Significant contrast in so many areas between Economic Activity and Welfare Dependency.  Some of the areas that rate highest for Economic Activity are also amongst the highest for Welfare Dependency.  The greatest contrasts include: Largs Bay / Semaphore,  North Haven,  The Parks, Salisbury North, Enfield. By comparison, areas such as Mawson Lakes and Windsor Gardens have high levels of Economic Activity that have clearly benefited the people living there (with comparatively lower Welfare Dependency).
  • With Port Adelaide and surrounding areas set for an economic and employment boost thanks to an expanding defence industry, we must ensure that we do not leave the southern areas behind. Developments at the Tonsley precinct will help, but it is critical that there is a robust jobs and industry strategy that demonstrates a strong future for people living in Adelaide’s southern suburbs. There will inevitably be a strong attraction to invest in community and economic infrastructure to support the defence and associated industries but we will still need a balance across other parts of the city.


Key findings on Play

  • Below average results for ‘play’ around Port Adelaide and both the northern and southern suburbs demonstrate the opportunity to invest in community facilities and infrastructure to increase the attractiveness of these areas.  However, the driving factor of this is access to ‘open areas’ (particularly parks and gardens). Increasing open areas in long established and built up areas requires long-term planning and a willingness to invest.
  • Adelaide already has a lot to be proud of with beaches, food and wine regions all in close proximity to the heart of the CBD. It’s important to continue to evolve the State’s current marketing strategy, attracting both domestic and international tourism.
  • With the Adelaide CBD achieving above average ‘play’ metrics on the back of the sporting and cultural investments by governments over many years, it is important that the CBD continues to maintain its iconic status. The Marshall Government has recognised this by focussing on the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site on North Terrace as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop a central hub that not only supports industry and education but also recognises our culture and heritage. In this respect the new Government has made a new national gallery that celebrates aboriginal art and culture a priority. With no such institution existing anywhere else in Australia, this would be a major drawcard for our State in terms of tourism and complement the existing cultural offering along Adelaide’s premium boulevard. 


What needs to happen to help us set sail toward prosperity?

A ‘City Deal’ to transform Adelaide and create a unique precinct

Ensuring that South Australia is prepared for the rapid growth of our defence industry is one of the biggest challenges facing our newly elected State Government. The State Government has the opportunity to seize the moment and put in place a plan in conjunction with Federal and Local Governments and the private sector to maximise the opportunity to revitalise our city, lay the foundations for growth and maximise the once in a generation growth. Decisions about everything from education to transport, housing to start-up incentives need to be made with the defence industry front and centre.

Based on CityPulse Adelaide findings, we believe the best approach is to develop a ‘City Deal’ focused on the defence industry growth to optimise the opportunities for the future.


A co-ordinated approach to Adelaide’s infrastructure opportunity

The incredible opportunity that the naval shipbuilding program provides for Adelaide brings with it considerable growth for the areas surrounding the Osborne shipyard. The pressure this growth will bring to bear on the infrastructure and transport networks and its connections to broader Adelaide creates an opportunity for transformative change. 

With proper and considered planning, innovative infrastructure and transport solutions that meet the needs of industry, communities and individuals will have the opportunity to flourish and continue South Australia’s reputation of leading change and entrepreneurship. CityPulse Adelaide takes a look at the role of well-designed infrastructure to support people and freight movements, and enable the emergence and connectedness of social and community infrastructure. 


The ripple effect for businesses in South Australia

The South Australian economy is underpinned and driven by 140,000 privately owned small to medium enterprises (SMEs) – making up about 98 per cent of all businesses in the State. While defence procures most of its major capabilities through prime contractors, the primes will need to rely on a network of more than 3000 SMEs to participate in the construction and service supply chains, which will create once-in-a-generation opportunities for the State’s business community. By 2020, this is expected to provide a $2.5 billion stimulus to our local economy.

Already, the Naval Group is engaging businesses. Not only will there be opportunities in the supply chain for the one million components required to build each submarine, but for all of the supporting service industries for those businesses and their employees. Providing the local industry can compete on capability, quality and value for money, many of the components needed could be supplied locally. The biggest challenge for SMEs will be to grow their capabilities to meet the demands of the local shipbuilding industry - how do they ensure they are ‘defence ready’? 


Creating an educated and skilled workforce for the future

The growth of South Australia’s defence industry presents a significant opportunity for our existing and future workforce with an extra 8000 direct jobs predicted as a result of the Federal Government’s investment. It will create better pathways for careers in engineering, naval economics, cyber security, technology, mathematics and physics as well as specialist trades such as electricians and welders. There is no doubt that the demand for highly skilled workers will exist but we need to ensure we can meet the supply from the local workforce and new skilled workers who we can retain in the State.

CityPulse Adelaide explores how we deliver this growth in jobs and workforce capability through a deliberate and strategic commitment to skill and talent development.



Contact us

Jamie Briggs

Adelaide Managing Partner, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 8 8218 7134

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