Explain the relationships between the urban dynamics and the changing economic character of a large city in the developed world

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Explain the relationships between the urban dynamics and the changing economic character of a large city in the developed world.
Sydney is a large city in the developed world. It is the largest city in Australia with just over 4 million people. It is located around Sydney Harbour and sprawls over the Cumberland plain on the east coast of NSW at 34 S, 151 E. The relationships between urban dynamics and its changing economic character will be discussed in this essay.
Sydney’s economy, since its establishment in 1788, has depended on trade. The growth of ports and related industries along the southern shore of the harbour both to the west and the east of the CBD during the 1800’s reflected this economic role. In the 1900’s manufacturing grew to the south of the CBD and the airport became established on Botany Bay. From the 1960’s, changes in transport and industrial technology started to change this pattern and in the last decades on the 1900’s, Sydney moved into an economy based increasingly on services, especially those related to the process of globalisation, and became increasingly part of the global network of world cities. These changes in economic character were reflected in the urban dynamics operating to change the physical character of large area of Sydney. The urban dynamics of suburbanisation, urban consolidation, urban decay and renewal and manhattanisation operated to produce substantial change in the inner areas of metropolitan Sydney over the last 40 years.
Pre- WW2 Sydney’s main roles were as an export/import port for NSW and a manufacturing and service centre for the local population. Wharves had developed along the southern side of the Harbour from Woolloomooloo in the east to Balmain and Homebush Bay in the west. Warehouses and industries developed close to the ports to process raw materials or store goods before distribution or shipping. The CSR sugar refinery at Pyrmont and the wool stores at Darling Harbour were examples of these functions. Power stations were built at Pyrmont and Balmain to provide electricity for the nearby industrial areas. A small CBD, low rise by today’s standards, provided the administrative and retailing centre for Sydney.
After WW2, rapid population growth, an expansion of industry and the growing availability of private transport coupled with rising incomes led to the rapid suburbanisation of the population and from the 1960’s many consumer services, including retailing and manufacturing, began to suburbanise.
Major change in the inner areas of Sydney began in the 1970’s when trade barriers began to decline globally, international financial links increased, cheaper air travel, containerisation in shipping and changes in industrial technology set in motion a series of events that led to significant urban renewal of the previous port and industrial area close to the CBD and the transformation of the CBD by the process of manhattanisation.
The increasing size of ships and the need for large wharf areas for container shipment meant that many wharf areas in Sydney Harbour were no longer suitable. In 1976, Port Botany was opened as the major port of Sydney and areas such as Darling Harbour and Woolloomooloo were progressively closed as major ports and suffered a period of urban decay. A decision was made in the early 1980’s to redevelop the abandoned railway yards and wharves of Cockle Bay into a major tourism and entertainment area for Sydney as part of the Bicentennial celebrations. The Darling Harbour precinct was opened in 1988 and its success led a wave of renewal firstly with the City West project which led to the redevelopment of the Pyrmont peninsula in the 1990’s and the gentrification of the Balmain and Abbortsford areas, and continues today throughout the industrial and wharf areas along the southern side of the harbour with the Rhodes Waterside development at Homebush Bay and the Green Square Development at Waterloo as examples of this continuing change. In all these areas medium density housing, consumer and business services, retailing and recreation services have replaced the industrial and port functions that were no longer economically viable and workers housing has been transformed into higher value middle class housing though refurbishment or renewal.
In the areas near the harbour there has been a policy of maintaining many of the original buildings in order to keep the character of the area but in the industrial areas more often complete renewal of the buildings has occurred. For example, one of the large wool stores at Darling Harbour has been transformed into a hotel and part of the power station building has become the Powerhouse Museum, the large finger wharf at Woolloomooloo has been transformed into luxury apartments with parking for luxury boats and one of the Darling Harbour wharves is now headquarters of the Wharf Theatre Company. Similarly, many of the terrace houses on the Balmain Peninsula have been renovated and the residential character of the area maintained. In contrast the industrial buildings in Rhodes and Waterloo have been demolished to be replaced by medium density housing developments and retailing malls.
In the CBD itself, the growth of office functions, especially financial and high level administrative and business service functions, led to a boom in office building in the 1980’s and 1990’s. These changes were linked to Sydney’s growing role as a regional headquarters for international business and its growing importance as a tourist centre. The CBD of Sydney is physically restricted in its outward growth by water to the north and west, extensive parkland to the east and central railway station to the south. As a result the CBD responded to the need for more space by growing upward, manhattanisation. Skyscrapers became the norm for Sydney’s CBD and in the 1990’s hotel development in preparation for the Olympics followed the pattern of the offices and in the less expensive southern end of the CBD high rise apartments became a new function within the CBD. The change that had occurred to the economic base of Sydney resulting in more activity in the CBD including recreation and entertainment activities, made it more attractive to live in the CBD and surrounding areas.
The growth of the CBD made land more expensive and pushed many local businesses and government departments out of the CBD. This led to the growth of secondary CBD,s, such as Parramatta and Chatswood, that service the local populations of the sprawling metropolis of Sydney.
The economic and related technological changes, related to globalisation, in the last decades of the 20th century have transformed the physical characteristics of the inner areas of Sydney. Landuse function as well as physical appearance has changed for the most part. The economic changes, linked with specific political decisions on redevelopment in certain areas, have driven the urban dynamic processes of urban renewal and manhattanisation that have created the inner areas of Sydney we see today.


Sydney’s growth and development has been significantly affected by the physical attributes of the site which influenced the pattern of economic and social zones in the city during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Technological and economic changes in the last 50 years have reversed some of these earlier trends but distinct social and economic patterns can still be observed. Social structures in Sydney are based on income and wealth which are reflected in the type of housing and location of housing and other associated facilities that provide for high income households.
Sydney has a distinct west- east division of income and social class. Higher income areas are concentrated on the north shore of the harbour, in parts if the Inner West and the harbour suburbs east of the CBD. There are other pockets of higher than average income especially river side suburbs along the Georges River and Port Hacking but there is a strong clustering in the areas mentioned above.
In a similar way low income suburbs are clustered in the western suburbs around Fairfield and Blacktown in the southwestern suburbs between Liverpool and Campbelltown. These are areas of high unemployment, single parent families and a clustering of public housing.
The older high income zones of the North Shore and Eastern Suburbs were attractive to wealthy people because of the water/bush views and because they were away from the poorer suburbs surrounding the CBD but with water access to the CBD. The growth of transport infrastructure and especially the Sydney Harbour Bridge opening in 1932 led to greater growth in these areas but they retained their high income status and increasingly other services such as private schools and recreation facilities were attracted to provide services to the population. These areas never established large heavy manufacturing industrial areas. Although, more recently, high tech information and media based industries have developed on the north shore, especially along the Ryde to Pennant Hills corridor, the economy is based on commercial activities with strong links to the CBD and the expanded commercial centres of North Sydney, St Leonards and Chatswood..
In contrast, some of the more recent high income areas along the harbour west of the CBD, such as Balmain, have changed their character substantially over the last 40 years. Balmain and surrounding inner west suburbs developed as industrial suburbs intimately related to the nearby port facilities. The industrial character made them attractive to NESB migrants, who provided the main workforce for industry in the post war period. The association of Leichhardt with Italian migrants in the post war period is an example of this.
The changes in shipping technology and the movement of the major port facilities to Port Botany in the 1970’s coupled with the suburbanisation of industry allowed the processes of gentrification and planned urban renewal to transform many inner suburbs from low income industrial areas to middle to high income areas. The economic base changed from industry and port facilities to commercial and tourism/recreational facilities such as Star City, Darling Harbour and the restaurants of Glebe Point road.
The rapid post-war population growth led to a rapid sprawl of the metropolitan area westwards so that previously rural settlements such as Penrith and Campbelltown became regional commercial centres on the edge of the city.
The western areas developed firstly as mainly dormitory residential suburbs both through private and public housing developments. In the 1960’s the suburbanisation of manufacturing began and from 1965 with the opening of Roselands, the suburbanisation of retailing. Education, and particularly hospitals lagged behind and are still more concentrated in the inner areas of Sydney.
The post war migration program attracted large numbers of migrants to Sydney. NESB migrants concentrated in areas where manufacturing work was available as English language skills were not so necessary in this kind of work and housing was cheap. In the 1950’s and 1960’s this was in inner areas such as Marrickville and Leichhardt but since the 1970’s the southwest LGA’s of Bankstown, Fairfield and Liverpool have received the bulk of these migrants. Since the mid 1980’s the decline of and restructuring of manufacturing has resulted in pockets of high unemployment in these same areas. Consumer services have suburbanised and small businesses, especially in retailing have replaced some of the lost manufacturing jobs.
The major economic growth in Sydney in the past 15 years has been associated with Sydney’s growing role as a secondary world city. Job growth has been in specialised services such as in the financial sector and business services to the growing number of TNC’s locating their Asia- Pacific headquarters in Sydney; in transport especially air transport and in tourism. These jobs have mainly been located in the CBD and inner suburbs. At the same time there has been an increase in the number of residents living within the CBD. For medium to high income earners without dependents living in or near to the CBD has many advantages including access to employment. In contrast, many workers in the CBD commute long distances to their workplaces either because they choose to live in suburban areas or because they cannot afford to live in reasonable proximity of the CBD. Some hotels in the CBD are finding it difficult to attract low paid staff such as housemaids as the travel time and cost of travel from the outer suburbs, where these workers live, don’t make it worth their while. There have been statements and plans for Sydney that include the need to maintain lower income housing in the inner suburbs but the housing market has been give free rein.
As a result of economic and technological changes and rapid population growth of Sydney in the period since WW2, distinct patterns of income and wealth and associated housing and services have developed within the metropolitan area. These patterns also reflect other social factors such as occupation, family structures and level of education. Government services, including hospitals and public transport, have not kept up with the growth of the city and tend to be concentrated in the inner and middle ring suburbs. The result is a secondary world city that has distinct economic and social patterns associated with the urban dynamics that are actively transforming the morphology of the city.

Analyse the results of urban dynamics operating in a large city in the developed world on the changing economic character, nature and

location of residential land, commercial and industrial development.
Introduction: (Restate the Question as a statement)

Name and Locate your case study:
Sydney is a large city in the developed world. It is located at

with a population of

Analyse the results of urban dynamics operating in a large city in the developed world on the changing economic character, nature and

location of residential land, commercial and industrial development.
Introduction: Restate the question……
A city in the developed world which we have studied is __________________

Sydney is located at _____________________________________________

on the east coast of Australia. Its area is approximately _____________ with a population of ________________ Sydney is one of the largest cities in the world in area but has been until recently low in density however with urban growth of 1000 people per week densities are increasing to accommodate an ever expanding urban population creating new urban issues.
(include sketch map here if possible– put map in a frame, with north point, scale, key and labels )

½ page

Some of the major urban dynamics observed in Sydney include: suburbanisation, urban consolidation, manhattenisation, centrifugal and centripetal forces, spatial exclusion, gentrification, redevelopment and urban renewal. These will be discussed in this essay in detail including references to fieldwork where possible.

An easy approach is to have a paragraph for each of the urban dynamics

Suburbanisation: (look at expansion of Sydney in urban growth over time)

Urban Consolidation:



Spatial Exclusion:

Urban Redevelopment/Urban Renewal:

Centrifugal forces:

Centripital forces:
Therefore in this essay the urban dynamics……has been discussed.

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