Benchmarking Sydney 2024
27 March, 2024

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Committee for Sydney

Report / 27 March 2024

Benchmarking Sydney 2024

How does Sydney stack up to peer cities when we measure our economy, mobility, culture, planning, equity and resilience?

The data in Benchmarking Sydney 2024, developed in partnership with Business of Cities, shows we’re making the right moves on Sydney’s most pressing challenges such as innovation and sustainability. But we’re not moving as fast as our key competitors: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Stockholm, Miami, San Francisco, Toronto, Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore.

In a nutshell

In measuring Sydney’s performance across 6 areas that make a great city (culture, future economy, resilience, equity and fairness, mobility and planning), we’ve found that Sydney’s global brand is strong, but it doesn’t reflect our innovation economy, our cultural diversity and our vibrant places. We need to ensure we’re seen internationally as more than beaches, a bridge and bushfires. 

While we perform well in culture and gender equity, there’s room to improve Sydney’s performance in planning and mobility, which is shaped by the city’s historic growth patterns. We’re in the midst of a transport infrastructure boom and undergoing major reforms in planning and vibrancy, but these changes take time to flow through to measurable action – and the challenge for Sydney is to unlock our untapped potential fast enough and ensure that cost of living and housing affordability doesn’t push people out. 

Where Sydney shines

  • We’re back in the world’s top 20 financial centres, up 14 places from pandemic dip
  • Cultural production’s at an all time high; we’ve also overtaken Stockholm, San Francisco and Toronto for how highly locals rate the evening scene since 2019
  • Top city for attracting and supporting female founders 
  • Globally competitive tech and engineering talent 
  • 1st out of 25 cities for how many people live within walking distance of a green space

Where there’s more for us to do

  • Planning and mobility lags behind – particularly neighbourhood walkability and density, public transport access and affordability, and safe night-time environments for women
  • Down 26 places since 2021 for reputation as a sports city
  • World’s 6th most unaffordable city for housing
  • Severe urban heat island effects
  • High increases in water stress and high per person carbon emissions