There’s always a lot attention paid to Sydney as a liveable city, but there’s an equally important set of numbers driving the city, and that’s as a business centre. The cities business success is the foundation of its ability to be a modern functioning environment. Here’s a few key facts: Sydney CBD contributions 10% of Australia’s economic growth. Alongside other CBD’s that’s more than the mining sector. Sydney city has created 100,000 new jobs since 2006. Big employers are professional services, finance, hotels, restaurants, cafes and retail. IT Professionals have grown to 20,000 in the past five-years, making Sydney Australia’s tech capital.
Sold, Sold, Sold
Have you ever thought why the residential market attracts so much media attention? Perhaps these figures help put this into perspective. Every year there are about 472,000 transactions worth a total of some $300 billion. According to the ABS there’s around 10 million homes valued at almost $7 trillion. By comparison commercial property is worth an estimated $950 billion.
Buying an apartment or house to renovate is a very popular Aussie tradition. It’s something almost everyone does and many of us see great potential in a 1970’s flat conversion or the renovation of a 1950’s bungalow. There are often great results but when there are problems it all appears to boil down to a few key failures, financial and budget control and planning. Pitfalls include not having a detailed understanding of costs, seeking cheap contractors and materials that soon backfire, not having a detailed budget and allocating too much work to DIY. Then there appears to be a reluctance to have good building plans and a scope of works along with responsibilities for different tasks. Not always but often this looks like ‘she’ll be right’ style of renovation.
Better Data and Better Cities
Data has been described as the new oil of our time helping to plan and drive almost every aspect of live and that includes urban planning. Although data is just one piece of the puzzle in the many challenges facing cities it’s got a vital role to play. However, like the comparison with oil, data needs to be refined to be useful and artificial intelligence will be needed to leverage the huge amount of data that governments and private companies already collect. The greatest challenge facing cities today may be how to share that data appropriately. There are already some urban-based projects underway. The City of Las Vegas is using big data to improve pedestrian safety. Transportation is a generally fertile ground for these projects and a pressing problem for every city, something Sydney well understands. What’s exciting now is that cars themselves and all modes of public transport with computers and sensors on board can give us data to help design, plan and manage transport. Much the same data can come from people’s smartphones. It’s already happening.
A reality of urban living is constant change. It’s a reality that planners, developers and all of us who live in cities need to appreciate. The problems of urbanism cannot be solved once and for all. There’s no one or right solution. As life produces change, urbanism reinvents itself. It is the physical embodiment of human development; birth, growth, endeavour, success, failure and death. Property is linked to all of these stages and it’s the dynamic driving development.
Here’s a little bit of fun, a quick look at some of the world’s biggest and most extravagant homes. The list is headed by the Sultan of Brunei’s palace at 22,000 sqm (approx). Then we have Bill gate’s 6,600 sqm home with a modest 300 sqm gatehouse. Mukesh Ambani is the richest person in India and boast about owning another one of the world’s largest and most expensive private residence. The $2 billion home known as Antilia, is a massive 27-story skyscraper situated in downtown Mumbai. One more, Asheville, North Carolina was completed in 1895, the chateau-inspired main house has 250 rooms, sitting on 8,000 acres. Asheville has 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, three kitchens, 65 fireplaces, banquet hall, 70,000-gallon indoor swimming pool, 23,000-book library, and bowling alley. The 18,000 sqm home is considered the largest private residence in the U.S.