Skip to content Skip to footer

Loading Results

CityPulse Sydney

Building three cities of the future

Sydney is Australia’s global city, and one of the main engines of the Australian economy. With a population of just over 4 million, set to rise to 8 million by 2050, we need to plan for this growth and ensure places for all our community to live, work and play. The next decade is crucial: through careful planning and the right investments, we can maintain and increase our global competitiveness while creating a more liveable, inclusive city that attracts the best talent. 

The vision for Greater Sydney is a metropolis of three cities. CityPulse Sydney provides a fact base for the current state of Greater Sydney. We identify which areas of Greater Sydney provide the best access to the things that help make our lives easier and more fulfilling: transport, housing, health services, employment, education, parks and recreation facilities, cultural facilities and entertainment - in essence, how well we live, work and play. By understanding how these three measures relate, we can start to identify the actions required to make Sydney’s vision a reality.   

Effective, thriving cities are those that connect the three elements of live, work and play - it’s the interconnection that brings vibrancy, community involvement and fulfilment.

Learn more about CityPulse

Discover what parts of Sydney 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

  • Proximity to amenities is critical to success. Areas that are high on the Live index are not concentrated in a particular part of the city. What is important is their proximity to amenities, services and a sufficient supply of housing. The top 10 areas in the index are spread across inner and middle-ring suburbs up to 25 kilometres from the Harbour CBD, rather than being clustered together. 
  • Health is directly linked to geography. As we move further away from the Harbour CBD, we see the health scores decrease. This is one of only a small number of metrics that show such a direct correlation. Lower scores can be the result of the relatively poor access to public transport and well-connected road networks. 
  • Access to education is both a good- and bad-news story. Accessibility to public schools is promising but only a very low proportion of Greater Sydney can readily reach higher education by public transport in 30 minutes or less. New ways of learning, such as purely or partially online courses, are mitigating this lack of accessibility but a balance will need to be struck between traditional, face-to-face learning and newer ways.  

Key findings on Work

  • Sydney is thriving beyond the Harbour CBD. It is no surprise that the Harbour CBD (including Sydney, Haymarket, The Rocks, Pyrmont and Ultimo) generates top scores for economic performance. But it is not just Sydney’s east that is thriving in gross regional product and economic growth. Parramatta–Rosehill, Homebush Bay–Silverwater and Macquarie Park–Marsfield are also high performers for economic output. Areas in and around the north-west and south-west growth centres demonstrate significant growth in gross regional product attributed to the substantial investment in essential infrastructure, transport, housing and services over the last decade.
  • We have an over-reliance on car travel due to the accessibility of jobs via public transport. CityPulse shows us that the further someone works from the CBD, the more they rely on a car to commute to and from work. West of Parramatta, most areas have low job accessibility using public transport, even those close to the Parramatta CBD. 
  • We have a key opportunity in the growth of industries and employment hubs beyond the CBD.  Job accessibility is not just about transport to where jobs exist, it’s also about bringing jobs to areas outside of the existing business districts and closer to residential areas. The government needs to consider using investments in transport networks and new transport modes, along with other infrastructure, to facilitate job-creating uses around the new infrastructure nodes. This can occur along key transport corridors.

Key findings on Play

  • Geographic inequality is limiting access to facilities that increase wellbeing. Areas generally west of Fairfield display lower scores for active living and access to entertainment and culture. Access to open spaces is far higher in the outer reaches of Greater Sydney than towards the CBD – due to the higher density of the inner and middle-ring suburbs, as well as vast areas of national park and beach at the edges of Greater Sydney. 
  • We are benefiting from our diversity through Play but we could do more. Access to entertainment and cultural facilities scores highest in and around the CBD. The five cultural infrastructure facilities that receive the most funding to date from the NSW Government are in the Eastern Harbour City. Access to these is particularly constrained for the Central River and Western Parkland Cities. This part of Sydney comprises significant cultural diversity, which is celebrated more at the local and community level. Compelling community-based events, temporary performances and the use of existing open spaces for programs needs to be encouraged.        
  • Sports are a central part of Australia’s culture and will continue to contribute significantly to the economy. Large-scale sports venues in Sydney have become city icons and attractions for residents and visitors, as well as providing anchors for wider entertainment precincts. Sydney Olympic Park has been a catalyst for the renewal of the Homebush area and is integral to the growth and revitalisation of the Greater Parramatta to Olympic Peninsula (GPOP) – the geographic and demographic heart of Sydney and one of its most promising areas. The proposed light rail route, as part of Stage Two of Parramatta Light Rail, and the recent commitment to Sydney Metro West will catalyse further growth in the area but will need to carefully balance Live, Work and Play factors.

Opportunities to help create our three cities of the future:

Transforming Sydney through transport corridors

CityPulse Sydney shows a clear correlation between investment in transport infrastructure and the live, work and play appeal of suburbs. Public transport links act as catalysts or building blocks for the growth and prosperity of our precincts and cities. 

We need to invest in transport which strategically considers the next 50 years, and not for the short term. We want to see significant improvement of large parts of Greater Sydney with regard to connectivity and activation - and to do this, we need to plan and invest in transport for the long term, including the development of the Western Sydney region. What does this look like across Greater Sydney?

Creating a more skilled, fulfilled Greater Western Sydney

The Greater Sydney Region Plan, released in 2018 by the Greater Sydney Commission, has established the Western Sydney Parklands as part of a third city, with the new airport at its centre. Greater Penrith and Liverpool are now established centres of economic productivity and will be the primary metropolitan clusters serving the Western Parkland City. If the Western Parkland City is afforded the same focus on growth, job creation and liveability as that given to Parramatta we will see similar opportunities for investment and development.   

While the Central River City is well established, and investment in this area continues, the Western Parkland City, anchored by the Western Sydney Airport (WSA), is essentially a blank canvas – one that presents even greater potential to develop a well-planned city that is scalable, technology enabled and delivers on all aspects of live, work and play. What needs to be done to capitalise on the natural strengths of Greater Western Sydney to create thriving cities of the future?

CityPulse is a national initiative. Subscribe to PwC's Cities updates to ensure you receive each report as they launch.

Explore the CityPulse of:

Contact us

Clara Cutajar

Deals Markets Leader, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 2 8266 3497

Follow PwC Australia