Having visited some exquisite cities in the recent past, I was wondering why this largest urban agglomeration in Australia has emerged as one of the best liveable cities in the world. Is it because of its cosmopolitan nature, vertical sky-scrapers, large population size, or state of the art infrastructure? Incidentally, there are various other established and important cities in the region, namely Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Singapore, etc., but Sydney has its own charm and character. It is the only city from the APAC region listed in “The world’s top most liveable cities for 2016” byMercer. This recent survey of approx. 230 cities of the world is based on factors including political stability, crime, currency exchange, recreational facilities, housing and climate. This shows the potential of this quality city, which is attracting the population from all parts of world and growing rapidly in size year after year.The Global Cities Index recognises it as number fourteen in the world based on global engagements and presence of multinational businesses in the city.
Sydney is best known for its harbour-facing Opera House, an impressive man-made structure having a distinctive sail-like design. Other features include Sydney Harbour, the Royal National Park, Bondi Beach, and Botanic Gardens. The city receives over 10 million international and domestic visitors every year. Sydney is also a gateway to Australia for many international visitors. Moreover, Sydney has been ranked amongst the top fifteen cities in the world for tourism every year since 2000. Given its vibrant economy, favourable weather, rich history, heritage and architecturally important places and diverse lifestyle options, it is not surprising that Australia’s largest city is such a popular destination for tourist and migrants. Sydney has an advanced market economy with strengths in finance, manufacturing and tourism. There is a significant concentration of foreign banks and multinational companies in Sydney and the city is known as Asia Pacific’s leading financial hub. All these achievements make Sydney as one of the best cities in the world.
The CBD of Sydney has a distinct cosmopolitan character. From Darling Harbour to Kings Cross, and from Harbour Bridge to Ultimo, the CBD of Sydney is packed with tall office skyscrapers, shopping malls, eateries, hypermarts and various heritage and architecturally important landmarks, making it an extremely significant and commercially driven downtown of the continent. Its complex on-ground and underground road, rail, water-based and upcoming MRTS networks are seamlessly integrated with pedestrian areas and plazas, creating a unique sense of connectivity and openness. City has undergone many transformations in the past and most of its new age buildings and structures are redevelopment projects, with many more still in pipeline. Being a financial capital of the continent, there is high demand for quality commercial space which is continuously putting pressure on the rental and capital prices in the region. Similarly, there is very high demand for residential and retail spaces as well in the city, owing to very high population influx and growth in the region.
As per NSW Planning and Environment, the population of Sydney Metropolitan area is increasing with a growth rate of 1.6% per annum, the highest in the NSW region. Sydney Metropolitan is largest urban agglomeration in the country, comprising more than 60% of total population of NSW and 20.6% of total population of Australia (Australia Bureau of Statistics, 2015). Some of its suburbs are the fastest developing suburbs in the country and the region continue to attract more and more people. This continued growth is expected to strongly push infrastructure and real estate sectors in the region to match needs of better quality housing, office, shopping and recreational areas, and above all, intra and inter regional connectivity for this expanding urban agglomeration.
Increaseddemand for real estate has resulted in development of new SBDs at various prominent locations in the suburban areas, with an aim to develop new residential destinations in the region, and to ensure balanced and planned development of its suburbs. Prominent commercial centres outside the CBD of Sydney are North Sydney and Chatswood in north, Parramatta and Blacktown in west, Bankstown and Liverpool in south-west, Hurstville in south, and Bondi Junction in east. Most of these areas have exhibited distinctive importance to emerge as true SBDs of Sydney metropolitan region, and demonstrated good growth over years. It is expected that these regional SBDs will play a major role in the growth of Sydney metropolitan region, to provide more commercial, housing, retail and recreational areas in region. Being one of the best cities in world, expectations are always high from town planners and policy makers to develop infrastructure of future, and the city has demonstrated high capability in achieving same in the past. Various new infrastructure plans of government, such as Sydney Metro, expansion of M4 and other highways, development of new roads, train stations and shopping centres, are some of the great steps towards ensuring a seamless and state of the art connectivity and infrastructure in region.
New infrastructure initiatives will definitely shape the future of Sydney, and ensure planned and holistic growth of metropolitan region. City is going through transformation phase once again,expectations are very high and the competition is getting tense as more and more world cities are aspiring to be in top ranks. However, the charm of this cosmopolitan city, economic health, best in class present and upcoming infrastructure and natural beauty of the region will absolutely help Sydney to remain one of the most prospective and progressive cities in world.