Aerial photo of Sydney looking towards the CBD from the northern side of the harbour

Sydney is frequently placed in the top ten of global “liveability” rankings. But despite the growing popularity of the buzzword liveability, questions remain about what it actually entails. What does a liveable city look like? How do we measure liveability? And, most importantly, liveable for whom?

The idea of liveability and liveability rankings has some usefulness. However, such rankings mask the disadvantaged, marginalised and excluded within cities, including Sydney.

In yet-to-be-published research, UTS’ analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from 1991, 2001 and 2011 indicates there are clear “winners” and “losers” in Sydney. Despite the strong economic growth in the 1990s, there is still a clear divide between eastern and western Sydney.

Some points from this article on The Conversation:

  • People who live in the central city, inner east, inner west and the north shore of Sydney have higher weekly incomes than those living in the western parts of Sydney.
  • People in eastern Sydney felt more able to live close to where they work (72% compared with 62% in western Sydney).
  • People in western Sydney were less likely to feel they had the transport they needed (86% compared with 91% in eastern Sydney). But, interestingly, they also felt that transport was less important than eastern Sydney residents.

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