With over five million inhabitants, Sydney is by far the largest metropolis in Australia. Considered one of the wealthiest and most dynamic cities in Oceania, how does Sydney perform in international rankings of economic competitiveness, sustainability, innovation and influence?
- Sydney’s economic competitiveness;
- Sydney’s innovation potential;
- Sydney’s sustainability performance;
- Sydney’s reputation and influence worldwide.
Sydney’s economic competitiveness
Sydney is the largest metropolis and economy in Australia. With over five million inhabitants, the Greater Sydney metropolitan area has a GDP of 417 billion, which accounts for almost a quarter of Australia’s GDP (SGS Economics & Planning, 2016). However, the city’s economic importance goes well beyond Australian borders.
The Global Financial Centers Index (2017), which evaluates the competitiveness of financial hubs around the world in terms of business environment, human capital and infrastructure, sees Sydney as 8th strongest financial center, among 92. With an overall score of 707 out of 1000, Sydney is the first Australian city in the index and the 5th in the Asia Pacific region, after Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Shanghai.
Even though Sydney is also included among the world’s most economically powerful cities by CityLab, it is "only" ranked 14th among 25 (Global City Economic Power Index, 2015). One possible explanation for the city’s performance in this index is that the study looks at economic performance, social inclusion and environmental indicators.
Sustainability performance of Sydney
According to the UN City Prosperity Initiative (2014), an online tool that measures cities’ sustainability performance, Sydney could be compared to metropoles such as Manchester, Dublin or Melbourne. With a score of 66 out of 100, the city is highly performing in urban governance (88%), quality of life (83%), social inclusion (82%) and infrastructure development (81%), but remarkably poor in environmental sustainability (26%). The share of renewable energy sources in overall electricity consumption is highlighted as the most critical environmental indicator.
In contrast, the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index (2016), which analyses sustainability performance based on a people, planet and profit approach, gives a high score to Sydney’s "planet" pillar. Globally ranked 21st among 100, the Australian city climbs to 8th position for environmental performance thanks to the abundance of green areas, quality of air and drinking water, and quality of sanitation. The Sustainable Sydney 2030 Program, which promotes a reduction of carbon emissions in the city by 70% in the next twelve years, is also mentioned as a crucial factor.
The index further points to tourism and transport infrastructure as two indicators where Sydney has room for improvement.
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