Big City Analytics

Identifying Sydney's economic, employment and population Centres of Gravity

21.4% of the national economy is linked to Sydney

85% of Australia's economic output comes from just 1% of our landmass: urban areas

Cities are engines of growth and innovation. While all cities have these key functions, the best cities organise themselves to maximise their potential. They ensure they have the public transport networks, housing densities, skills and governance needed to manage and leverage growth.

However, it is increasingly recognised that also at the heart of effective 'city performance-management' are the analytical tools which enable a better understanding of the key forces or trends shaping the city.

Although there is now a big literature on 'city analytics' and measures of urban performance, there is not as yet a universally agreed assessment framework or set of indicators enabling us to identify the key factors of success or failure.

There is a plethora of competing and often inconsistent city performance league tables or indices. In this context the Committee for Sydney and Committee member PwC have released an Issues Paper seeking to elevate the importance of using emerging analytic tools to understand and manage city performance. The analysis was carried out for all major Australian cities with an in-depth look at Sydney.

Big city thinking requires big city analytics.

Key findings for Sydney at a glance

  • While Sydney's CBD is Australia's most important economic asset, contributing $64 billion to the economy in FY13, Sydney's economic Centre of Gravity is located over 9km west in Concord, much closer to Sydney's Second CBD, Parramatta.
  • Connectivity for growth. Direct connectivity between Sydney's economic clusters is crucial for realising the potential of the network.
  • The end of urban sprawl. The urban sprawl and greenfield development which defined Sydney's growth during the 1990s and early 2000s is easing and showing signs of reversing. Higher density, infill development is accelerating and taking on a greater role in housing Sydney's growing population.
  • Debunking (and clarifying) the jobs and housing imbalance in Sydney. The notion of a major imbalance between jobs (in the East) and housing (in the West) is incorrect.

Sydney in numbers

Sydney's gross economic output 2013

The analysis was carried out for all major Australian cities. To see how your city performed view the full report.

Contact us

Jeremy Thorpe

Chief Economist & Partner, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 (2) 8266 4611

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